Calling time on Winter clock change
CHANGING the clocks from summer to winter time could be a thing of the past following a decision by the European Parliament to vote in favour of reviewing the bi-annual time change, a move welcomed by MEP Sean Kelly.
Mr Kelly said a majority (384 MEPs) voted in favour of the resolution calling on the Commission to assess the viability of persisting with daylight saving time and he welcomed the MEPs’ decision to follow-up with proposals for a review.
Mr Kelly, who was speaking in support of the changes with fellow MEPs, cited that many studies on daylight saving time have failed to reach a definitive conclusion on why the time changes should be retained. He added that research now shows the negative effects on human health and dangerous consequences for road safety which stem from the annual change.
“Experts have found that people struggle to adapt to the time change, with a huge number experiencing sleep deprivation and disruption in the immediate aftermath. This leads to health problems and a lack of concentration that could impact on work productivity and driver alertness,” said Mr Kelly.
The Commission now plans to review the law which came into force in 2001 and to explore the options for setting an ‘EU-wide’ date and time for the start and end of summer which would put an end to the traditional March/October time change.
Mr Kelly said that in the US approximately 100,000 road accidents occur in the first two weeks after the clocks change, adding that more wild animals are killed on roads because they do not adapt to changing traffic patterns. Farmers have also reportedly witnessed an impact on their animals, particularly dairy farmers as cows must hold their milk for an extra hour.
“Realistically, all EU countries would need to agree together to scrap the twice-yearly time change, to let the clocks switch to summertime in March 2019 and not switch the clocks back the following October. For the protection of the Single Market, it would need to be EUwide,” Mr Kelly added.