Bright outlook for daylight savings campaign

Another hour of daylight in the evenings could have huge beneficial impact, campaigners say
Another hour of daylight in the evenings could have huge beneficial impact, campaigners say

By Alex Stevenson

Attempts to secure lighter summer evenings are set to receive a major boost as ministers turn their attention to the issue this week.

The tourism strategy, due to be published by Friday, is expected to look favourably upon proposals to move Britain's clocks forward.

Opposition to the move has evaporated in recent years, after postal workers abandoned their early morning deliveries and a narrow majority of farmers backed lighter evenings.


Conservative backbencher Rebecca Harris is seeking a review of proposals to abandon Greenwich mean time through a three-year trial period.

Her proposed legislation on the issue is about to enter its committee stage in the Commons but, like most private members' bills, requires government backing to have a realistic chance of succeeding.

"This is an idea whose time has come," she told politics.co.uk after reports emerged at the weekend that an announcement could be made this week.

"I think it's going to be looked at properly. It's something that seems to have the potential to create jobs."

Ms Harris declined to comment on whether ministers had privately indicated they would support the bill, however.

"I don't think I would be withdrawing my bill [if the tourism strategy did include a review] because it's a much wider issue than tourism," she said. "I want all government departments to look at it."

The daylight saving bill would trigger a government review of the case for change as well as initiate the three-year trial.

Lighter evenings could cut down the number of opportunistic crimes and encourage more outdoor exercise and use of public transport, for example, affecting the Home Office, Department of Health and Department of Transport respectively.

Changed energy usage habits could see 500,000 fewer tonnes of CO2 emissions used each year, it is claimed.

And the tourism industry would benefit hugely, with campaigners predicting up to 80,000 new jobs would be created as a result.

Campaigners acknowledge that the south-east of Britain would have the most to gain, however, making support from the Scottish and Welsh nationalists critical.

Downing Street said yesterday that David Cameron was seeking "consensus" on the issue.

Last August the prime minister indicated the argument focusing on outdoor sport activities had the most potential to win sceptics over. "That's the key to winning this argument," Mr Cameron said.

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