It’s only two days till the clocks move back an hour for winter, and as the nights draw in this year’s usual media coverage of the clock change has been brightened by a Lighter Later twist.
A flurry of independent reports released today echo our call for lighter evenings. The most influential is Dr Mayer Hillman’s Scotland report, which states that Scotland stands to benefit significantly from the clock change.
BBC News Scotland reported that “switching Scotland to Central European Time would reduce road casualties, improve health and boost the economy, according to new research”
Lighter Later supporter Rebecca Harris MP has popped up everywhere to talk about the Daylight Savings Bill. On the Daily Politics Show she won the support of everyone invited to discuss it (well, almost everyone!).
Politics.co.uk also interviewed her, and reported that The Communication Workers’ Union, which represents postal workers, had dropped its opposition to daylight saving after early morning deliveries were curtailed.
In addition to this, Terry Jones, acting director of communications at the National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales, said a narrow majority of farmers were in favour of lighter evenings last time members’ opinion was tested on the issue.
“If a firm proposal was made to put the clocks forward – in order to reduce road accidents, for example, or reduce energy consumption – we would need to consult our members – but at this stage we are keeping an open mind.”’
An entire half hour was devoted to the subject of clock change on Radio 4’s Costing the Earth (broadcast on Wednesday and Thursday, 27-28th October). Lighter Later’s campaign manager Daniel Vockins was invited to contribute, and if you’d like to hear what he said, the programme is available here for a few more days. He also appeared on Sky News’studio sofa yesterday morning, pointing out the advantages to presenter Eamonn Holmes.
Today London Mayor Boris Johnson announced another pro-clock change report by saying “It’s barmy that a great trading city and major global financial centre like London is so out of kilter with the rest of Europe. We do immense amounts of trade with our partners across the Channel and all the evidence shows we have little to lose and much to gain by setting our clocks in line with Paris, Frankfurt and other big cities.
“It will also greatly improve the quality of life for Londoners wasting less daylight while they are sleeping and giving them more options for leisure and play when the working day is over.”
It’s not just London that supports the move: the subject has received positive coverage in the regional papers too – click through to read reports on the health benefits associated with lighter evenings, from outlets based in Newcastle, Oxford and York.
The campaigner manager of road safety group Brake Julie Townsend said today: “Putting the clocks forward by an hour year-round would bring so many benefits [including] making our roads safer, particularly for our most vulnerable road users, such as children on foot. This simple change would each year spare hundreds of families from the devastation of a sudden bereavement or serious injury on the roads.
“Research shows that the safety benefits would be most strongly felt in Scotland, where the casualty reductions are predicted to be greatest. We hope that the Government will listen to the huge amount of public backing for this campaign, and act upon the wealth of evidence in support of making it lighter later.”
All in all, it has been a massive week for the campaign – we’ve seen an unprecedented amount of positivity in the media’s coverage of the issue, and it’s all thanks to our Lighter Later supporters. This has been a powerful grassroots movement, and it’s not long now until the crucial second reading – the day that this coverage is building towards. Opposing voices are still out there, but the more people hear about the potential benefits, the less convincing those voices have become.
N.B – If this is something you feel strongly about, the best thing to do at this stage is write a letter to your local paper – and your national one, if you can! Those of you that live in Scotland have particular power when it comes to redressing the balance of the debate in the national press. For example, if you’d like to write to the Herald, their contacts page will provide you with the appropriate channels of communication.