'Lighter Later' is campaign group 10:10's latest project in tackling climate change. As the name suggests, Lighter Later aims to push the clocks forward by an hour to gain more daylight hours during the evenings. If the times when the public are awake have a stronger correlation with the times when the sun is shining, the need for electric lighting would reduce greatly. Although this would mean darker mornings, studies suggest that the majority of the population are asleep during the first hour of sunlight, and most are awake when it sets in the evening.
10:10 believes that individual carbon cuts will not be effective without government policies to support it. Hence, the Daylight Saving Bill has been proposed and is due in the House of Commons for it's third and final reading today (20th January, 2012). The Bill proposes a 3 year trial in which the clocks will move forward by an hour year round. This new timing plan is known as Single Double Summer Time (SDST), where the time in summer will be GMT+1 and GMT+2 in winter.
The Daylight Saving Bill also comes with other benefits to society. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) says that lighter evenings could reduce road casualties by approximately 80 people every year and lowering road casualties will, in effect, save the NHS an estimated £138 million per year.
Another economical benefit comes through the leisure and tourism industry, UK's fifth largest industry. By creating longer evenings, attractions and monuments will be able to stay open to the public an hour later, creating 60,000-80,000 new jobs in the industry and bringing in an extra £2.5-3.5 billion into the economy yearly. Lower electricity bills could also be another advantage of adopting the bill, as people make more use of natural light and power demand during its peak hours (16:00-18:30) drops.
On a social level, the Daylight Saving Bill will reduce crime and fear of crime as more people feel more secure venturing outside when the sun is up. The Sports Council for England have stated that the bill will also increase opportunity for more outdoor activities, which has associated health benefits that stem from having an active and successful sporting nation.
Additionally, increased daylight hours will have an effect on the public's mental state, increasing happiness, in particular for the 4-5 per cent who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a depression arising from lack of natural light.
'We need to realign the clocks with the way modern Britain actually lives. More jobs, better sporting opportunities, safer roads and lower carbon emissions are what we need right now. Here's a policy with broad public support that ticks all those boxes and costs virtually nothing to implement. It's a complete no brainer,' says Daniel Vockins, 10:10 campaign manager.
TAKE ACTION: The campaign has already managed to gain the support of a number of MPs, but they need your help with that last push to get all 102 votes. If the bill succeeds in Parliament today, it will then move onto the House of Lords.
Through their website you can use their MP lobbying tool to check on your local MP's stand on the issue - whether they will be in the chambers today, and whether they will be voting that crucial 'yes'. You can also follow the link to find your MP on twitter and tweet at them for a more personal approach.
You can also help the campaign out by donating to campaign funds, which will be spent on their phone bank capacity and used to make calls to MPs, secretaries and other people who can help get the bill passed.
By taking these simple steps you could be a part of making the change to cut UK's carbon emissions by approximately 447,000 tonnes per year in the winters, with a considerably larger amount during summer months. Don't miss out on your chance to make a difference.
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