Monday, 7 March 2011

It's March - Turn the lights on please

I can't believe the way in which our debate on daylight saving (putting the clocks backwards & forwards) is portrayed as being so black & white. From listening to the radio & reading the papers this last couple of weeks you could be fooled into thinking we have a straight choice between the status quo, permanent British Summertime & joining the European time zone. OK, that's three options, black, white or grey then. However, there are other options, or colours in the spectrum.

First of all though, there is the simple reality of having the same amount of light on a given day, whichever system we use. All the articles I have heard or read seem to miss out on that simple fact of physics. So, here is my my thinking on this one. December & January are in mid-winter & the days are very short. No system is going to give us more light to play with, but we can make it safer to get to & from school & work. Given the amount of light we have to work with in deepest winter I would say we are currently right to be on Greenwich Mean Time during this period of very short daylight hours.

However, we are now in March & there is lots of light around. It's just that a lot of it is around before we leave home on a morning & it would be good to have some of that light on an evening. From a hillgoers point of view we could have longer evenings in March to enjoy our walk off the hill. Or even just to potter around the garden or go for an evening run.

So, here's my contribution to this debate. Have the combination of British Summer Time & Greenwich Meantime that we currently have, but alter the dates when we fall back & spring forward. I would turn the clocks back a bit later than we do now, say around the first Saturday in November. Then at the other end of the winter, turn them forward a lot earlier than we do now, say around the third Saturday in February.

Of all the months in the year when the current system doesn't work well it has to be March. Surely we could tweak the current system so we get to use the light available to us in this month when winter starts to give way to spring.

If you agree with my views, or if you have views of your own, then do let your MP & MSPs know. Its important that this issue isn't allowed to drop off the agenda.

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