"Angered" RoSPA presses Government for more daylight


The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has reacted to Friday's stalling of the Daylight Saving Bill with "anger" after it was "effectively killed by just a few politicians," according to the group.

The Daylight Saving Bill proposes shifting the UK clocks forward by one hour across the year, meaning longer evenings. Currently we use Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) from October to March, and GMT plus one hour for the remainder of the year, called British Summer Time (BST).

Switching to GMT plus one hour from October to March and GMT plus two hours during summer, would see us adopt a system called 'Single/Double Summer Time' (SDST).

The extra daylight in the evening that SDST 'creates' would, says RoSPA, reduce the number of road deaths by 80 per year, and the number of serious accidents by over 200. Those figures are based on a Department for Transport study undertaken in 2009.

Furthermore, reports by the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee during the same year found that the number of cyclists killed or injured would also reduce dramatically if SDST was implemented.

The cost of switching is estimated at around £5m, but it's estimated that the economy would benefit by over £138m per year as a result of reduced road casualties.

Friday's Parliament session saw the bill talked out of time, however, with a group of ten opposing MPs indulging in time-wasting (albeit legitimate) tactics to ensure it didn't make progress.

If the bill had progressed, it's likely a nationwide trial of SDST would have gone ahead, probably lasting three months.

Opposition is largely based on the fact that under SDST some areas of Scotland wouldn't see daylight until 10am during the three darkest months annually; a similar trial in the '70s made this clear, so to speak.

Responding to the setback, RoSPA's chief executive Tom Mullarkey said: "We are bitterly disappointed that years of campaigning have been unwound so casually in this cynical, and undemocratic, way.

"It is outrageous that a proposal with so much support, and that has the potential to save lives, create jobs and cut carbon emissions, has effectively been wrecked by just two or three politicians.

"They should be ashamed that their contrived interventions have scuppered this opportunity to ease the suffering of many families in this country, the people whose lives they were elected to protect. As such, we call on the Government to either give the Bill more time, or for the Business Minister Ed Davey to conduct a proper review of the evidence for change himself."

RoSPA calls the UK's current time zone "daylight robbery" (geddit), and conducted a survey in October 2011 to gauge the popularity of switching to SDST. After asking "would you like to see an extra hour of evening daylight all year round, across the UK?", more than nine in ten respondents said "yes".