The campaign to make British days last longer
The climate change group, 10:10, have launched Lighter Later ñ a campaign to shift the British clocks forward an hour throughout the year. This simple initiative would give everybody an extra hour of daylight to enjoy and at the same time, reduce pollution.
Synchronising the times when most of us are awake, with the times that the sun is up, will significantly cut the amount of electricity consumed. Shortening dark evenings, when the entire population has their electrical appliances switched on, would flatten out the peaks in demand, cutting carbon emissions by an estimated half a million tonnes, the equivalent of taking 185,000 cars off the road forever.
Improved visibility on lighter evenings would also reduce the number of road casualties and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents suggest that up to 100 lives could be saved each year. But further benefits will be lower electricity bills and a major boost to the leisure and tourism sector. The initiative would also cut down crime say campaigners, as well as improve the nation’s health by creating more opportunities for evening-run sports and outdoor activities.
10:10 believe that everyone would feel happier, especially the 4 to 6 per cent of the population who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder ñ a type of depression triggered by a lack of exposure to natural light during the winter months.
Humankind’s concept of clocks and chronological time is only a matter of perception. The Earth completes a spin on its axis once every 24-hour period, giving us day and night. There are however, seasonally different lengths of day because our planet spins on a tilted axis as it orbits the sun in an annual cycle.
In the winter months, Britain and the northern hemisphere are tilted away from the sun, so nights are long, days are short and the sun appears low in the sky. In the summer, when we tilt the other way, the process is reversed.
Standard Time is a relatively recent invention. Originally used by sailors to calculate longitude, Greenwich Mean Time was officially adopted throughout Britain in 1880, to co-ordinate railway timetables. There have been previous instances when time has been shifted for convenience. The Summer Time Act of 1916 set the clocks forward an hour to save coal for the war effort and created the model we use today. During World War II, Britain again advanced its clocks to increase productivity, save resources and boost morale.
10:10 are calling for a three-year trial of the new timekeeping model and are asking everyone to join the campaign and help make British evenings lighter.