Parliament to vote on bill put forward by Conservative MP

Scientists at Cambridge University have concluded that abandoning Greenwich Mean Time would cut the number of road accidents and reduce harmful environmental emissions, according to a report in the Guardian newspaper today.

Research by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents seems to back up the new figures. The society estimates that nearly 5,000 people have died on Britain’s roads in the past 35 years and mounts a campaign every autumn warning road users to take more care around the time the clocks go back, when night time sets in suddenly earlier. The new study estimates the drop in energy consumption and therefore carbon dioxide production, due to people using less light in the evenings would be significant.

There is a vote in Parliament scheduled for tomorrow, proposing that Britain ditch GMT for three years to test the impact of setting clocks forward an hour all year round, synchronising the country with France, Germany and Italy.

Navigation warning
A ‘yes’ vote from MPs would mean navigators around the coast would add two hours in summer and one in winter and GMT/UTC would cease to be the actual time in Britain at any time of year. Chris Jones of the Admiralty Tides office told PBO that they did not anticipate any problems, as mariners are accustomed to adding hours when using tide tables.

Tim Thornton of Smartcom Software, the company that produces the TideWizard tidal heights software package, told PBO:
‘Time zones and summer/daylight saving time settings are always changing. For example, most but not all of the US states changed their DST start/end dates from the beginning of this year.
‘If a change is implemented at short notice and we haven’t produced an update, then the user can type in the time offset from UTC that he wants to apply to that tidal station. Once we are aware of any impending changes, we just update the database and make this available in the program updates as well as in new releases of the

He went on to say: ‘There are other possible electronics and software products that will be affected as well. GPS receivers and chart plotters that have a BST database built in may need chips reprogramming or replacing.’

A similar experiment was conducted in the 1990s in Portugal, but was abandoned when studies found that children had difficulty sleeping due to light in the evenings and insurance companies reported the number of accidents actually increased.