Moving clocks forward 'would cut fuel bills'

Fuel bills could be cut by an average of 5 per cent and Britain could cut its carbon dioxide emissions by more than a million tons by changing daylight hours, an MP pushing for reform has said.

Under Tim Yeo's Bill to change the current daylight-saving regime to give the country longer, brighter evenings, the clocks would be moved forward throughout the year to be one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in winter and two hours ahead of GMT in summer.

A three-year experiment would begin in October 2009, when clocks would not be turned back as usual at the end of British summer time. The following March, clocks would go forward as usual, after which the time would be adjusted as normal in the spring and autumn.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would be able to opt out and an independent assessment would be required before the change was made permanent.

Former environment minister Mr Yeo cited recent research from Cambridge University which suggests that putting the clocks forward an hour in winter could cut the cost of electricity by 5 per cent and reduce CO2 emissions by 1.2 million tons.

The South Suffolk MP said: "The effects on our electricity bills would be dramatic because we would not merely be using less, but by reducing the early evening peaks in demand for electricity, the price would also fall.

"Cambridge University estimates that moving to GMT+1 winter would bring down the price of electricity by 5 per cent. Their findings were broadly confirmed to me by the National Grid's own modelling a year ago.

"Surely anything with the clear potential to reduce our CO2 emissions and bring down the now spiralling costs of electricity must be worth trying."

Supporters of a change in daylight hours also argue that lighter evenings would reduce deaths and injuries on the roads, allow children to play outside later, boost tourism and help businesses work with their counterparts in continental Europe.

Image: Research suggests that changing the daylight-saving regime could cut the cost of electricity

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