Daylight extension would improve road safety, obesity levels and crime

Speaking in advance of the clocks going forward tonight (Saturday), Fine Gael Cork East Deputy and Chair of the Oireachtas Justice Committee, David Stanton, has again outlined the benefits for society and the economy that would come from extending the summertime.

“Tonight the clocks will go forward by one hour, giving us more daylight and a noticeable stretch in the evenings. For years now I have been signalling the benefits of extending our summertime period and making a permanent move to Central European Time (CET).

“These benefits centre on a reduction in electricity consumption, carbon emissions, crime levels and road deaths. Studies have also suggested that the move would lead to a boost in tourism and the nation’s health, as people take advantage of the extra hour in the evenings to engage in leisure and sporting activities.

“There is huge support for making the move to CET both her and in the UK. As the Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, I have sought the views of the Irish Farmers’ Association as well as numerous commercial groups, all of whom are in favour of the proposal.

“The Road Safety Authority has reviewed the publication ‘An Investigation into the Effects of British Summer Time on Road Traffic Accident Casualties in Cheshire” which it is now using to conduct a similar survey in Ireland, using our road collision database. Recommendations on the effects a change would have on road safety here are expected sometime next year.

“If we are serious about making the change, it would have to be in conjunction with the UK. Despite the fact that the UK Daylight Saving Bill fell recently in the House of Commons on a technicality, support for the proposal remains strong. I have been in regular contact with the Bill’s sponsor, Conservative MP, Rebecca Harris and will continue to push the issue forward.

“I have tabled two oral questions to the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar, on the matter for answer next week. I have also tabled a written question to Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, under whose remit daylight savings changes come, regarding discussions at EU level.

“The majority of people look forward to the clocks going forward and to the longer days that that brings. With the benefits that would accrue socially, financially, environmentally, physically and mentally why not take the leap once and for all and make the change to summertime all year around?”