The last flares of autumn colour are falling to the ground, that chill in the air is developing a biting edge, and the daylight drains into evening well before dinner time. You can’t fight the seasons. But this last fact of losing daylight during the winter is being challenged, with a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies suggesting there could be environmental as well as social benefits to staying in summer time all year round.
The BBC’s Costing the Earth tackled the question before we changed the clocks this year, speaking to scientists in favour of the idea, politicians against the idea and communities which might benefit. Certainly worth a listen.
There is in fact an official campaign, Lighter Later, tied in with the 10:10 campaign to cut 10% of the UK’s carbon emissions by 2010. The suggestion is to move UK clocks forward all year round – to GMT +1 in winter and GMT +2 in summer.
According to a study by Cambridge University researchers, it would be possible to cut 447,000 tonnes of CO2 pollution per year with this strategy – having more daylight in more productive hours would mean using less energy to fuel our activities.
This neat little gadget will give you some idea of what that carbon reduction actually physically means (the embed link doesn’t work but you can punch in 447,000 tonnes and see the graphic for yourself).
The campaign suggests that simply moving time forward would mean lower fatality rates on the roads, lower crime rates and health benefits apart from the environmental positives.
Does it all sound a little too simple or far-fetched or is it a case of an obvious suggestion that’s just been overlooked? Will be keeping an eye on this one, especially if it means the wintery London gloom might be lifted just a little bit!
Here, by the way, is an interesting aside on how complicated and conflicted Daylight Savings is in the US, with some states actually operating in several different time zones.