Will times change in England?

TONIGHT people across Europe will be putting their clocks forward for summer, and if one senior Suffolk MP has his way we will soon all be on the same time - whether we are in Ipswich or Italy.

TONIGHT people across Europe will be putting their clocks forward for summer, and if one senior Suffolk MP has his way we will soon all be on the same time - whether we are in Ipswich or Italy.

Tim Yeo tabled a private members bill which would have moved time in this country forward an hour. During the winter we would operate on what is now British Summer Time and during the summer we would have double BST.

That is the time used by countries across most of the European Union.

It would mean in the middle of winter sun would not rise until 9am or set until 5pm.

At the height of summer, sunrise would not arrive until just before 6am, but it would not get dark until after 10pm.

Mr Yeo's parliamentary bill was effectively killed when fewer than 100 MPs turned up to debate it on January 26 this year.

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But he is convinced that eventually the clocks will change.

Mr Yeo said: “My bill was effectively killed because the Government was not prepared to support it. They were not ready to upset their MPs in Scotland in the run-up to assembly elections.

“But the vast majority of MPs support the move and I am sure it will return and eventually get through the House of Commons within the next five years.”

There were many arguments in favour of the change. Mr Yeo said: “The main reason for changing the time is the question of safety. It would be much safer on the roads to have it light later in the afternoons.

“Many experts agree on that - this move would literally save lives.

“But there are many other reasons for the change as it would make people feel better. You always get a bit of a lift at this time of the year when clocks go forward and you have an extra hour of daylight after work.

“The mood lightens as the evenings lighten”.

Mr Yeo said he had not highlighted the fact that British time would be the same as European time, but that would be an important consideration for businesses.

He said: “At present the one-hour difference does make things rather difficult when arranging meetings and conferences with European businesses. Bringing the timing into alignment would be very useful to the commercial sector.”

N Would you like to see British time brought into line with the continent? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

ALTHOUGH Britain is not a large country, the times of sunrise and sunset vary considerably between the north and south of the country, especially in the middle of the summer and the middle of the winter.

On the longest day of the year, June 21, the sun rises at 3.30am in the Shetland Islands and sets just after 11pm. It never gets completely dark in the Shetlands in late June, and there is annual golf match which tees off at midnight on June 21 every year.

At Land's End on the same day the sun rises at 5am and sets at 9.30pm.

Many people living in Scotland have always opposed moving away from GMT because it would make their mornings too dark in the winter.

If the Mr Yeo's proposal was adopted across the country it would mean that, in late December, it would not get light in Aberdeen until 9.40am - long after most children had gone to school - and the sun would set at 4.40pm.

In Ipswich the hours of sunlight would be from 9.10am to 4.55pm in mid winter and from 5.35am to 10.25pm in the middle of the summer.

N Greenwich Mean Time became the standard time in Britain during Victorian times as the expansion of the railways meant time across the country had to be standardised.

N British Summer Time (BST) was first introduced during the summer months in 1916 to extend the hours that munitions factories could work during the First World War.

N During the Second World War the country operated on BST and double BST, but reverted back to the GMT and BST in 1947.

N Between 1968 and 1972 the country operated on BST throughout the year, the clocks were not put back or forward.