Darkness kills and sunshine saves; For safer roads, let’s call time on the clock change

DST time for change

The UK has already tried year-round BST – once during the war to maximise daylight working hours, and again between 1968-1971. The most recent trial saw an 11 per cent reduction in road traffic deaths and injuries thanks to lighter evenings, but was ended following pressure from the farming lobby and its objections to darker mornings in the north.

It’s estimated reverting to year-round BST today would save 100 lives and prevent 200 serious injuries on the roads each year; in the process saving the NHS £200m annually. Studies have also suggested that changing the clocks forward has a detrimental effect on cardiovascular health.

Some go further still by making the case for an additional hour in summer, bringing us into line with Spain, which shares our longitude.

According to analysis carried out in 2010, having GMT+1 in winter and GMT+2 in summer would give Birmingham an extra 301 hours of post-work evening sunlight each year. Glasgow and Edinburgh would enjoy 175 additional hours. In addition, such a change would reduce the UK’s carbon footprint by approximately 2.2 per cent as less electricity is needed for lighting.

clock change

Ending DST can’t guarantee sunshine, but it enhances post-workday outdoor leisure time and reduces road danger

A 2018 survey gathered 4.6m responses – 84 per cent of which were against Daylight Savings Time. European Commissioner for Transport at the time, Violeta Bulc, presented these preliminary results to the College of Commissioners saying: “Millions of Europeans used our public consultation to make their voices heard. The message is very clear: 84% of them do not want the clocks to change anymore. We will now act accordingly and prepare a legislative proposal to the European Parliament and the Council, who will then decide together.”

“There is no obvious evidence that this energy saving is happening”, Ms Bulc said. “Sometimes you need to look at legislation and say ‘the king is naked, this no longer serves people’.”

The following year, the European parliament voted to do away with the tradition of changing the clocks twice each year. They decided that all European countries would decide to remain permanently on winter time or summer time. In the four years since the vote, Covid, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and bureaucratic processes have delayed implementation of the idea.

As of today, nobody can say for certain whether any change will happen. Count on re-setting your clocks for a good few more years at least.

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  1. John Mullen


    I am in favour the change. I cannot understand why farmers object they simply can adapt their hours to be the same, as can schools in the North. Businesses would be OK as all would be working to the new regime.

  2. JohnB


    The article says: “Studies have also suggested that changing the clocks forward has a detrimental effect on cardiovascular health”.
    That’s a bit unclear. Is it the clocks *being* forward (as during BST) that is bad, or is it just the moment of change that has a detrimental effect?
    In the former case, the studies would argue for no BST at all!
    In the latter case, the studies would tend to support all-year BST, or no BST at all – but not “double BST” as proposed later in the article.

    • The ETA


      It’s the moment of change in Spring – there’s a corresponding reduction in cardiac events at the moment of change when the clocks go back.

  3. Fiona McLuckie


    I cannot see how forcing primary school kids in Scotland to walk to school in the dark can possibly be safer

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