Time to turn the clocks back again and mess around with our sleeping patterns. But is this current system the right way of dealing with dark days or is there a better – and safer – alternative?
Is it just me who gets completely confused whenever the clocks change?
Every spring and autumn I have to do some childlike counting on my fingers to work out whether we get an extra hour’s sleep or, worse, lose an hour.
Campaigning for different daylight hours
Then I heard about the campaigns to get lighter days. Brilliant, I hate going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark… better show my support.
First off I found the 10:10 Lighter Later campaign. According to them, their proposition is simple: ‘We shift the clocks forward by one hour throughout the entire year. We would still put the clocks forward in spring and back in autumn, but we would have moved an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening.’
Then there’s the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), calling for a system called ‘Single/Double Summer Time’ (SDST), which would put the clocks one hour ahead of GMT in winter and two hours ahead in summer.
Now I’m more confused than I was to start with. Is this just two different ways of explaining the same thing? Judging by the ‘Supporting 10:10 Lighter Later’ logo on RoSPA’s site, I guess so.
What are the benefits of SDST?
So what’s my little rant got to do with consumers? Well, stats out this week from Santander suggest a quarter of us feel more at risk of personal injury and burglary when the nights get darker. RoSPA reckons that a move to SDST could reduce road deaths by around 80%, as well as cutting carbon emissions by 450,000 tonnes each year.
The subject of the environment has also been picked up by Dr Elizabeth Garnsey, a Cambridge academic. She found that we’re wasting about six gigawatts of energy per day in winter because we wake up after it gets light in the morning and then light dark houses in the evening.
Her calculations are coming before a Private Member’s Bill to adjust Britain’s time to SDST. It’s due for a second reading in December and already has backing from sporting and environment organisations.
So could changing the current system really make our lives safer, more environmentally-friendly and our bills cheaper? The arguments have convinced me – anything that makes winter nights a bit lighter and safer is good in book. Still, I remain confused about how it all works, so anyone who can help me fathom out the difference between all these proposals, please speak up…