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Government considers supporting Daylight Savings Bill

The Government is seeking amendments to the Bill, at the forthcoming Committee stage in the House of Commons, expected in early November. The…

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The Government is seeking amendments to the Bill, at the forthcoming Committee stage in the House of Commons, expected in early November. The Bill will need to be passed by both Houses by the end of the first session of Parliament, which ends in April 2012.

The most notable of these amendments will be to require the Secretary of State to consult the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales and to obtain the agreement of the devolved administration in Northern Ireland to any proposed trial. The Government would not, however, expect to introduce a trial if there was clear opposition in any part of the UK.

The Bill as drafted would require a review of the potential costs and benefits of advancing the clocks by one hour. It would then require the Secretary of State to bring forward legislation in Parliament to implement a trial advancement of the clocks by one hour, if a new Independent Commission concluded, in the light of the evidence, that this would be beneficial. Any trial would then last three years.

Further amendments to be tabled include changing the Independent Commission to an Independent Oversight Group who would advise the Secretary of State on the preparation of any report.

Business Minister Edward Davey said:

“This is an issue which affects everyone across the country so we cannot rush head first into this. As the Prime Minister has made clear we need consensus from the devolved administrations if any change were to take place. We are therefore tabling amendments to the current Bill to make sure that it addresses these concerns.

“It is only right that we at least look at what the potential economic and social benefits of any change might be. Lower road deaths, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and improved health have all been argued over the years as possible benefits. If there is strong evidence to support this then the Bill should reflect this need for consensus.”

This year, British Summer Time (BST) will end on Sunday 30 October at 2.00 am GMT throughout European Union Member States. The clocks go back giving an extra hour. This means that at 2.00 am (British Summer Time) the UK will move to 1.00 am GMT.

Notes to editors:

  1. Rebecca Harris MP introduced the Private Members Bill on 30 June 2010 to ‘require the Secretary of State to conduct a cross-Departmental analysis of the potential costs and benefits of advancing time by one hour for all, or for part of the year’ and ‘to require the Secretary of State to take certain action in the light of that analysis; and for connected purposes.’ The Bill passed Second Reading in the House of Commons on 3 December 2010.
  2. The 9th European Commission Directive on summer time harmonised, for an indefinite period, the dates on which summer time begins and ends across member states as the last Sundays in March and October respectively. Under the Directive, summer time begins and ends at 1.00 am GMT in each Member State. Amendments to the Summer Time Act to implement the Directive came into force on 11 March 2002.
  3. Time zones are the responsibility of individual Member States and vary across the EU.
  4. The devolution arrangements for time zones are asymmetric - responsibility is devolved in Northern Ireland but reserved in Scotland and Wales. Accordingly, for any daylight saving trial consultation will be needed with the devolved executives in Scotland and Wales and the consent of the executive in Northern Ireland will also be required.
  5. The Crown Dependencies (the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) are not part of the United Kingdom and have power to pass separate legislation relating to time in their particular areas. Nevertheless, as any daylight saving trial would be likely to have a substantial impact on the Crown Dependencies they are being kept informed and their views on any change would be sought.
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Notes to Editors

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Published 28 October 2011