Shedding light on the UK time-zone devolution debate

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Would lighter evenings be better for British drivers?

A safety charity is calling for William Hague to consider time-zone devolution in the constitutional changes he is overseeing in a bid to push for lighter evenings.

Proposals to amend the system of timekeeping have a long history in Britain, with The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) spearheading the campaign for a change that would bring lighter evenings all year round.

They say more daylight on autumn and winter evenings would save lives and reduce injuries on our roads.

RoSPA's chief executive, Tom Mullarkey, has written to Mr Hague, who is chairing a new government committee looking at options for English devolution, to ask him to include time zones in the review.

With the end of British Summer Time approaching, RoSPA is urging for England and Scotland to be able to make their own decisions on moving to a Single/Double Summer Time (SDST) system.

They want the UK to put the clocks one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time in winter and two hours ahead in summer.

Mr Mullarkey said: "We strongly believe that moving to SDST would save lives and reduce injuries and we will continue to lobby for change on this issue.

"At present, it is the perceived resistance in Scotland that is stalling the process, so we urge William Hague to seek time-zone change to reduce the number of lives being needlessly lost or diminished on the roads."

Department for Transport research shows about 80 deaths and at least 200 serious injuries would be prevented on the roads each year if the UK switched to SDST.

But despite 'perceived resistance in Scotland', a report by Dr Mayer Hillman, of the Policy Studies Institute at the University of Westminster, says 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, some parts of the country receive as little light as some places in the Arctic Circle.

Mr Mullarkey added: "Darker nights are upon us now, so it is important the campaign steps up a gear.

"Extra evening daylight would protect vulnerable road users like children, the elderly, pedal cyclists and motorcyclists by making them more visible to motorists during the peak time for road use in the late afternoon and early evening."

For more information on RoSPA's lighter evenings campaign, visit www.rospa.com/roadsafety/features/lighter-evenings.aspx

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