/ Health

Time to change to double summertime?

Sun going down behind trees

‘Summertime and the living is easy’… well, it might be if we get longer summer nights, but what about dark winter mornings? Should safety be cast aside in favour of boosting tourism or should we put it to the vote?

Longer summer evenings could be on the way if predictions are right about the government’s new tourism strategy. It’s expected to include a proposal to move to ‘double summertime’ – or British Summer Time +1.

That would mean lighter evenings in spring and summer which, say supporters, will bring in millions of pounds to the tourism industry and reduce carbon emissions as we all turn our lights on later.

Downside of dark mornings

So what’s not to like? Well, it’s going to be a pretty rough ride in Scotland, with the most northern parts not seeing daylight until past 10am in the depths of winter. Many argue that these dark mornings are dangerous and cause more accidents.

When the clocks changed last October we asked the question, ‘Do you agree with turning the clocks back?’ and were inundated with responses, including some from a Scottish perspective.

‘Having been brought up in Scotland I was used to walking to and from school in the dark with only street lights to help me,’ explained Linda. ‘I survived, but the roads were not nearly as busy as they are nowadays.’

Sally questioned why 8-9am is the chosen time for beginning school and work. ‘Why don’t we adjust our working start times to 6-7am and then we have access to daylight at the end of a normal working day whatever the season. Get up earlier, work then play! If we are going to try and fight nature let’s do it in a creative way.’

What suits the majority?

Clearly, this is a highly personal issue, as Robert and Dave’s responses showed. Robert explained that he preferred lighter evenings, but Dave disagreed. ‘Personally *my* best use of daylight hours is to have lighter mornings, not evenings, but that is just what suits me and lighter evenings are what suit you.’

Which is exactly the crux of the issue – we all have different lifestyles and preferences, so working out what suits the majority isn’t going to be easy. Many of you felt that there should be a referendum before anything is firmly decided – something that the Prime Minister has hinted at already – so this could be the next step.

Until then, check out this handy map to see how the proposed changes will affect you and your area – and vote in our poll to let us know where you stand on double summertime.

Should clocks be changed to double summertime?

Yes - lighter evenings would be good (62%, 649 Votes)

No - leave it as it is (38%, 394 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,043

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Mark Parkin says:
22 February 2011

My philosophy is to not bother springing forward and falling back, but to just let Mother Nature do her thing naturally without any help. Much lighter nights would mean my 2 youngest kids taking longer to get to sleep

I too have two young children but we use blackout lining for their curtains/blinds – not an issue!

As far as I’m concerned – I start working at 5:30 am – To think that I would have to paddock the black dogs in total darkness is a No No! – Then cleaning the kennels in darkness would result in unclean kennels (no lights in kennels for safety reasons). Then having to go to sleep in “broad daylight” just to favour a few tourists is rubbish. The Condems won’t care – they do not get up that early anyway – though probably will get more profits from their business (the profits won’t be passed on to their workers).

So a clear – “Leave the clocks alone!”

I’m a bit unsure about the safety element of this – is it really unsafe to change the clocks? As far as I know, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has been campaigning *for* this change for many years. They argue that changing the clocks could reduce road deaths by 80 per cent each year.


Personally, I don’t mind either way – we’ll get used to the changes fairly quickly, and I have a feeling it will still be difficult to get out of bed in the winter, no matter what the clock says!

That’s “reduce accidents by 80 per year” Nikki not “80 per cent”. Attention to detail, it’s important.

Double daylight saving was used during WW2 to save energy, if it is such a good idea why was it abandoned afterwards?

Oops, sorry Phil – think I’d just been going through a spreadsheet and got confused on %ages! Thanks for pointing out!

My vote would have to be leave it as it is! Those of us in the far north of Scotland would not see daylight in winter until after 10 in the morning.
I do feel that this topic is just going to highlight the North/South divide – no ‘Northerners/Scots’ want it but ‘Southerners’ do.
A few years ago someone jokingly stated that perhaps clocks should be changed as you passed over the Scotland/England border, maybe if this goes ahead it might actually become necessary?
As to some of the safety aspects – more commuters would be driving when roads are still very icy, which is a bad enough problem up in this neck of the woods already and it would just be exasperated if this idea was implemented.
So in a nutshell my answer is simply:
No, no, no………………..
πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Caroline says:
25 February 2011

I’m old enough to remember the experiment in the late sixties/early seventies. I can remember sitting in my classroom at school at a quarter to ten in the morning watching the sun rise. It was awful. We had reflective armbands to wear when walking to school, because for two months of the year it was dark until nine o’clock. I still hate the dark mornings, but at the moment it’s not quite as bad as it would be if we were on summertime in the winter.

I really don’t get how anyone thinks this is a good idea. If they did make this change it would mean that in December / January it wouldn’t get light til 9am – and that’s in London… And it would still be dark by 5pm. So you’d get up in the dark, go to work in the dark, leave work in the dark… Who actually would benefit from that? Leave it as it is!

Isidore says:
23 February 2011

More accidents happen in the evening when people are tired than in the morning. Children would go home from school in daylight if we went over to CET, so it is hard to see any argument for maintaining the present system, especially as the three year trial ultimately showed a reduction in road deaths. There is nothing to stop the Scots staying on GMT if they wish or just starting and finishing work and school an hour later in the winter. The Scandinavians have different working hours summer and winter so it’s not that radical an idea.

Its dark in the mornings “up North” anyway , so this way we have lighter evenings some of the time.
Far better to drive to work in the dark when wide awake, and return in the light when tired.

I just want the clocks to stay the same all year. I hate all the phaffing around every six months changing them and then waiting a month for my body to catch up. My preference would be to put the clocks on BST (ie GMT +1 hour) and leave them there (isn’t that what we did in the sixties’ trial? – it worked for me). Who really wants daylight at nearly 10.30 at night anyway? And I much prefer getting up in the dark when I know it’s getting lighter; it’s quite dismal going home in the darkness.

From memory we tried staying on BST in the 60’s and there were more accidents in the morning involving children. I know my paper round and walk to school took place in darkness.

Is this more to do with corperate buisness wanting our time zone to be in harmony with Europe?

Personally I’d prefer we stayed as we are or even stay on GMT. We can then adjust the start times of schools, work places ect. to suit the various parts of the UK.

“From memory we tried staying on BST in the 60β€²s and there were more accidents in the morning involving children.”

I think that was 1968 to 1971. The argument now is that there were much fewer accidents in the evening so it was a net gain.

Pickle says:
24 February 2011

Seems to me to be swings and roundabouts – I would prefer the time to be unaltered throughout the year, and stop mucking about with the clock – whichever is the set time.

I think that the clocks should be changed to bring them in line with the rest of Europe, this will make life a lot easier for those that work with European countries, it will also benefit tourism as we won’t have to keep changing time every time we travel. Longer evenings are better for all as it will enable more sociability, to say nothing of sport, in the evenings.
As far as the Scots are concerned, yes they may have their opinions, they are as entitled to them as the rest of us, but we have been held back by them for far too long, they now have their own parliament, which the English do not have any say in, so if they are that bothered, then let them do what they like with the clocks, let us do what we want, there are many land borders around the world where time zones change.

Couldn’t agree more. The Scots have their own parliament, so why not have their own time.

I’ve had enough of hearing the case against double summer time being dark mornings in Scotland, which inconveniences the majority in the UK. The benefits to the UK as a whole from energy savings are substantial. I also believe that the benefits to tourism would be great.

The UK should move to double summer time and the Scots can look to the Nordic countries and Iceland to find out how they manage it.

We are plagued with opportunistic burglaries every December and January because empty homes stick out like a sore thumb from 3 pm. One hour’s difference would make all the difference as many homes would be occupied after school time.

Heather says:
25 February 2011

I think double summertime is a Bad Thing. I don’t understand the thinking behind the road safety issues, as we will still be going to work or school in the dark (and very much darker in much of Scotland) but coming home times for school and work will still be staggered, as schools close earlier than the time at which most people are travelling home after work.

I have heard it suggested that the idea is to attract more tourists to the UK, to take advantage of longer evenings. What planet do they live on? Lighter evenings to see our wonderful outdoor pub culture? Better views of drunken natives? Tourism will only improve when we offer better value for money, and understand how to offer genuinely good, friendly, polite service to visitors.

What about all the theme parks and stately homes that could stay open an hour later?

I would say keep it as it is, if we are trying to conserve energy surely the least amount of darkness during the normal times that people travel or work would be more sensible. If attractions are not open in the evenings (late) it wont change those that are inside and those that are outside I would think are more dependant on weather for thier visitor numbers.

Norman Williams says:
25 February 2011

Those of us old enough to remember the previous attempt at this, know that it was a fiasco.
Our children had to go to school in darkness, and wear reflective armbands to enable them to be seen.

oldgranny says:
26 February 2011

Living in the north of England and remembering taking the children to school in the last experiment well before daylight, the thought of having to get up in the dark for months at a time horrifies me. What about icy roads in the early mornings?
Who’s going to benefit from this extra hour of daylight ?
The tourist industry – I don’t think so.
Less accidents – we can’t compare the 1970s with present day traffic.

Kevin Hepworth says:
25 February 2011

Another dim idea from ConDim Government, or is this a Clegg plan to bring our times in line with Europe?

Sophy says:
25 February 2011

Can’t see the point in this proposal at all – summer evenings are fine as they are, giving scope to do things but allowing children to sleep, and there would be no real winter benefit as it would always still be dark by 5pm anyway and most working people are not out on the roads before then! Kids do finish school earlier I know, but would only be swapping for a walk to school in the dark instead it seems. The UK has a huge seasonal time difference which will always be difficult to cope with, and no amount of clock changing will ever produce a win/win situation. Considering changes to working/school hours, possibly with a difference for Scotland too, is a much more sensible starting point, and if child safety is the main argument, why give them such a long holiday at the safest time of year for travel to school? There have already been arguments for more even term distribution for other reasons. A definite NO to double summer time from me on several counts, so either leave as it is please or think outside the box Mr Cameron!

Frances Thompson says:
25 February 2011

I think things should remain as they are,however I do agree we shouldn’t be pandering to Scottish Regions no more than we should be pandering to the Eurocrats.Yes Scotland have thier own Paliament In which we don’t have any say! My reasons are for the occupants of England,there will be all the disruption with the domestic electronics that rely on self adjusting timers etc. The bigger issue is where you have gangs of the younger children roaming the streets during summer holidays because it will be daylight until 10 30pm. It is also less safe in Winter mornings when there will be ice on pavements and roads much later and children will be travelling to school in the dark much more!

In mid Winter, or mid Summer come to that, the number of hours of daylight are the same regardless of what the clock shows. But our lives are organised around what the clock says.
Personally I’d prefer double summer time all year around, along with the majority according to the current state of the” Which vote”.
Lighter evenings would enable everyone to make better use of their time either for business or pleasure, we would be in line with Europe our biggest trading partner, the roads would be safer, we would save energy and our tourism industry would get a big boost.
However during the Winter the further north you go in the UK the later in the morning daylight would arrive and I can see that being a concern for some.
So, why not have a different time zone for say northern areas like Scotland or simply encourage the Scots organise the time they do things differently if they feel that’s the problem. Of course we could organise our days differently nationwide but it would be much easier for the by far biggest part of the population which is in England a Wales to change the clock.
In summary I see double summer time as being a very good thing rather than problem so my vote is to bring it on.