Government poised to support moving clocks forward an hour all year round in new tourism strategy
The government will this week signal that it could support proposals to move the clocks forward by an hour, according to reports suggesting the coalition’s new tourism strategy will argue that changing the clocks would cut carbon emissions and boost the UK’s economy.
The strategy, which is due to be launched this week, will include a plan to shift British clocks an hour forward all year round, bringing the UK into line with mainland Europe.
However, the proposals are likely to require support from the Scottish Parliament, where some politicians are opposed to the idea, if they are to be approved.
Campaign group Lighter Later, which is lobbying for the move, has said the darker morning and lighter evenings brought about by the change would slash energy consumption and save 447,000 tonnes of CO2 every winter.
The idea was introduced by Conservative MP Rebecca Harris last year as a private members’ bill, which is currently being scrutinised by a committee of MPs after passing its second reading.
Prime Minister David Cameron and the influential Energy and Climate Change Committee have both lent their support to the proposal, along with tourism bodies and safety campaigners, although fears have been raised that road accidents on dark mornings would increase in Scotland as a result of the change.
Now the tourism strategy, set to be published by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in the next few days, has adopted pushing the clocks forward as a method of increasing the numbers of visitors to the UK and potentially testing the strength of public feeling on the issue via consultation.
“We’re still very much focusing on the bill,” said a spokeswoman for Lighter Later. “But potentially including it in the tourism strategy is like [the government is] giving the idea their approval.”
This is not the UK’s first flirtation with clock changes – a three-year experiment between 1968 and 1971 saw British Summer Time applied through the year.
However, following a raft of complaints from Scotland the clocks reverted back, despite the fact that subsequent studies suggested road accidents had actually fallen as a result of the change.
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