28 March 2014
As millions prepare for British Summer Time, RoSPA is urging every member of the UK to “see the light” ahead of Scotland's independence referendum.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has lobbied for lighter evenings for decades in a bid to cut the number of people killed or seriously hurt on our roads.
The charity’s chief executive Tom Mullarkey is using this Sunday's (March 30) switch to British Summer Time (GMT+1) to appeal for an extra hour of evening daylight throughout the year - regardless of the outcome of Scotland’s independence referendum in the autumn.
Research commissioned by the Department for Transport shows that about 80 deaths and at least 200 serious injuries would be prevented on our roads each year if the UK switched to Single/Double Summer Time (SDST: GMT+1 in winter / GMT+2 in summer).
Tom Mullarkey said: “If Scotland votes 'Yes' in September, then it’s only right that it should choose its own time zone. RoSPA would then urge the Scottish people to change to SDST, because all the evidence shows that Scotland would be the British Isles’ biggest beneficiary.
“If Scotland votes 'No', we would encourage all of the Home Nations to develop a unified approach to what’s in the best interests of everybody.
“This is a campaign that has been affected by regional divisions in the past. But it needn't be, because it's a move that would benefit everyone - Scotland more so.”
A report by Dr Mayer Hillman, of the Policy Studies Institute at the University of Westminster, found that an extra hour of evening daylight would benefit Scotland more than any other part of the UK because of the limited number of daylight hours it enjoys in the winter - with parts of the country receiving as little light as some places in the Arctic Circle.
By better aligning waking hours with available daylight hours, adults in nine-to-five employment in Scotland would enjoy almost 300 extra hours of light per year. For children in Scotland, there would be an annual increase of about 200 light hours.
Other benefits of lighter evenings - across the UK - would include:
- Cutting CO2 emissions by 447,000 tonnes a year by reducing the need for electric lighting in the evenings
- Providing a £3.5bn boost to British leisure and tourism, creating up to 80,000 new jobs in the sector
- Addressing levels of obesity by allowing for more outdoor sport in the evenings
- Relieving the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and similar conditions
- Reducing crime and the fear of crime (especially among the elderly).
RoSPA is encouraging the public to make sure that the UK’s decision-makers are persuaded of the drive’s popularity by clicking on its big, red “Support Our Campaign” button.
More than 45,000 members of the public signed up to the Lighter Later campaign during the passage of Rebecca Harris’s Bill in 2012. Nearly 22,000 individually written emails were sent to MPs urging them to vote in favour. One hundred and forty six of the 160 MPs present at the final stage voted to progress the debate. Yet the Bill still failed, thanks to the efforts of just 10 MPs.