The coalition government is thought to be preparing a plan to move the UK’s clocks into line with most of Europe, by moving them forward by one hour on a permanent basis.
This would bring lighter evenings but darker mornings, which would be good for tourism, it is argued.
But there is likely to be opposition in Scotland, where the change would mean it would be dark until well into the morning, causing problems for those heading for school during the morning commute.
The National Farmers’ Union in Scotland has been one of the main opponents to the proposal as agricultural workers in the far north of the country would suffer disproportionately during the dark mornings
But a recent report by the Policy Studies Institute argued that children in Scotland would gain up to 200 hours of useful daylight a year if the move was to be adopted. The study, authored by the academic Mayer Hillman, also estimated the change could boost tourism earnings by up to £300m, and save £15m in energy bills for Scots.
The clocks would still move back and forward for British Summer Time, maintaining the equality with the Central European Time (CET) zone, which covers most of Western Europe.
Older readers may remember that this has been tried before. A three year experiment started in 1968, when British Standard Time (GMT+1) was employed all year round. The clocks were put forward as usual in March 1968 and not put back until October 1971.
The Department for Transport’s initial analysis of road casualty data during the experiment suggested that more people were injured in the darker mornings, but fewer people were injured in the lighter afternoons. Not too surprising, is it?
But further analysis suggested that while those living in central England and southern Scotland benefited most from the experiment, northern Scotland saw a net increase in the number of people killed or seriously injured.
Ministers, according to the BBC, want to be satisfied that the country backs the plan before giving the final approval. Last year, Prime Minister David Cameron indicated he was willing to consider a switch.
“The argument will be won when people across the country feel comfortable with the change,” he said in August
The Scottish Government, and many opposition politicians, have opposed this proposal in the past, and are likely to do so again. So this could become a Scotland v England issue very quickly.