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Clocks forward

Bid to move British clocks forward gets initial vote

If Daylight Saving Bill is introduced, it will put UK in different time zone from Ireland.

A CAMPAIGN TO give the UK more daylight in the evenings has just cleared its second hurdle. If the British bid to move the clocks forward by an hour succeeds, it could have a knock-on impact on Ireland.

Our clocks have traditionally been linked to British time, since Britain brought in the Summer Time Act in 1916. But critics of the daylight saving measure – originally brought in to give farmers more daylight to work with in the evenings – have been campaigning for a change of legislation. They want British time to be brought in line with Central European time.

The Daylight Saving Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons this afternoon by 92 votes to 10, the Guardian reports. It will now proceed to  a committee stage.

Supporters of the bill say that a main reason for bringing in the lighter evenings is to cut energy costs by reducing the number of hours at home where heating and lighting has to be used. They also say tourism and a healthier lifestyle would be promoted by longer light in the evenings, and that fatal road accidents might be reduced.

Critics of the change say that it would make commuting to school and work more dangerous with darkness still reigning at 9am in the depths of winter. Agricultural workers, and others who work outdoors, would also be forced to work in darkness in the mornings.

BBC News quotes Conservative MP Rebecca Harris as saying that the Daylight Saving Bill which she has introduced to the House of Commons would save up to 80 lives a year, mainly among children, through brighter evenings.

Ms Harris told MPs:

The fact that daylight saving has been championed by people all over the country and across the political spectrum suggests that it is not a party political issue. Honourable members will note the remarkable range of more than 300 organisations backing the bill as part of the Lighter Later coalition – such unusual bedfellows as the Kennel Club, Greenpeace, the British Beer and Pub Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. the AA, the Football Association and Parentline Plus.

However, the campaign still has to persuade the Scottish government to come on board, although the Farmers Union for Scotland have already agreed to back the bill.

In June, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern has said that the Government was not planning to change Irish summer time. However, if the UK introduced the legislation, even on a three-year trial basis, it would mean that Northern Ireland would be in a different time zone from the Republic.