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Double summer time campaign 'on hold'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 30, 2012

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A campaign for lighter evenings which promises to boost tourism in the South West has been delayed.

MPs who back the idea of putting the clocks forward to GMT plus one hour in winter and plus two hours in summer – known as double summer time – have said it will be put on hold until after the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014.

They admitted the issue was unlikely to win government support while the SNP opposed it.

The time shift would mean lighter winter evenings, which campaigners claim would cut road deaths, bolster the tourism industry and cut energy use.

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It is estimated that longer evenings in the summer would increase tourism revenues by up to £4 billion in the UK, and create tens of thousands of jobs.

Adrian Sanders, the Liberal Democrat MP for Torbay, admitted the Bill was unlikely to go forward unless all areas of the UK were on board.

But he said there were a "growing number of organisations" who now backed the campaign. Mr Sanders said: "Daylight Saving Time would not only be a massive boost to tourism, it would also benefit health and environment in the South West.

"Everyone would be healthier, while heating and lighting bills would be cut.

"Childhood obesity would be reduced because children would be allowed to play outside later into the evening.

"Calculations also show the number of road accidents would go down, especially those involving children."

But critics, including Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, say the change would produce long, dark mornings and have an impact on safety and quality of life, particularly for dairy farmers with early starts.

Mr Salmond previously claimed that the campaign was an attempt by Westminster to "plunge Scotland into morning darkness".

Supporters, including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, say that darker mornings and later evenings, would produce a wide range of benefits across the United Kingdom, from reducing the number of road accidents to boosting GDP.

A Private Member's Bill was introduced in January that proposed a detailed study of the impact of changing Britain's timezone and a possible three-year trial. More than 100 MPs turned up to support the second reading, but a small group, including Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and the SNP's Angus MacNeil, talked it out of time.

Although the Government is not opposed to the idea if it has the backing of the public, David Cameron has made it clear that he would not proceed unless all areas of the UK were on board.

Rebecca Harris, the Tory MP who brought forward the Bill, told The Times: "I have no doubt that it will come back again. There is a lot of interest because of the potential boost for the economy and the tourist industry."

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  • goliath_david  |  October 30 2012, 6:53PM

    Here we go again! This comes up every time the clocks change. About time the government stood up and made the +2GMT happen rather than wait for the Scots to moan continually.

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  • howardd1  |  October 30 2012, 4:21PM

    if scotland wins to go independant then we can go head scotland will be a foreign country ,

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  • Kirton1  |  October 30 2012, 2:59PM

    I would like to see double summer time during the summer, with GMT in the winter, this way Scotland dont get dark mornings during the winter, and can benefit the light evenings during the summer when it matters. I generally get up at 7am, and even here in Devon it was still dark last week at 7am. This week much better for getting up for work, although can't do much about losing the hour in the evening, so its dark when i arrive home. Lets make the most of the summer we have, and enjoy the lighter evenings until late, encourage more people to get out and about. It was lovely camping in France and it was still daylight at 11pm, Devon/Cornwall would really benefit this during the summer.

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