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About the Energy Saving (Daylight) Bill

Thursday 01 January 1970, 1:00 AM

Hi, I've read the briefing on this bill, posted on the front page of this site, and a similar briefing on another site and neither one cites a specific named source for the assertion that: "introducing SDST would reduce the demand for electricity by 3%, thereby cutting carbon emissions and reducing climate change" I don't believe this statement to be true.

The effect of this bill will be to shift the clock time of dawn forward by one hour in both summer and winter. In winter, this will mean that daylight won't arrive until nearly 10am in Scotland, 9am in the south of England. However, times of opening of businesses, factories and schools will not go forward by an hour (the working day will still start at, say, 9am clock time). Therefore people will be getting up in mornings that are both darker and colder than now. If they ordinarily get up at 7am to be at work/school by 9 then in the south of England where that is presently one hour before dawn, it will become two hours before dawn. In Scotland, where 7am is presently 2 hours before dawn it will become 3 hours before dawn. 3 hours before dawn is equivalent to getting up at 5am (current clock time) in the winter in the south of England. If you told someone to get up now at 5am in January, they'd probably complain that that was the middle of the night. I think people will put their central heating on an hour (solar time) earlier, but that the lighter evenings will encourage them to be active for longer and so leave their central heating on until the same time relative to sunset in the evening. They will in fact be staying awake longer, increasing the length of their active day. The effect of this is to increase central heating usage by one hour a day. I don't understand where this assumed energy saving comes from. To my knowledge the last experiment was done about 40 years ago and since lifestyles have changed considerably since I don't think drawing conclusions from that experiement is justified today. Most humans do not function well when the start of their diurnal cycle moves too far from dawn - we need the sun to re-set our internal clocks. I think the icy, dark, roads will become crowded with bleary-eyed, overtired, grumpy and stressed people. All in all, I think this is a very bad idea and it would make more sense to adjust our active day length in accordance with the seasons (shorter school/business days in winter) rather than trying to compel people to obey the clock rather than listen to their evolutionarily-developed senses. As for giving Scotland/Wales/N. Ireland a separate vote - imagine the chaos if any of them chose not to follow suit - bus and train routes that repeatedly cross the borders and have stops in each country would have timetables very difficult to comprehend. I see no evidence that these considerations have even been thought of, let alone taken into account. Who did this research? Where are they published? Is it peer-reviewed? Or is this move purely intended to synchronise us with Central European Time? -- Simon

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