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Daylight Savings Bill

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Daylight Savings Bill

Posted by David Arditti at 22:40 on 2011 Feb 24

A Bill is currently going through Parliament, the aim of which is to move the UK to Central European Time (CET). Under this, the clocks would read GMT+1 hour in the winter, and GMT+2 hours during the operation of Summer Time.This was last tried during the Second World War. There was also an experiment in 196871 where we had GMT+1 hour throughout the year, but this is not the same as CET.The BAA has been asked by a magazine for an official position statement on the issue. It would therefore be useful to hear through this forum what members think about the proposed change, and what attitude, and what action, if any, they think the BAA should take on it.David Arditti, Council Member

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Re: Daylight Savings Bill

Posted by TonyAngel at 10:35 on 2011 Feb 25

A starting point would be looking at the meeting report from about 12 to 14 years ago, (give or take a year). There was a speaker who tried to convince the meeting over the benefits of changing. He was thrashed, with no member supporting him. Henry Hatfield spoke against the motion at length. As it was the main event of the meeting, it was was well reported in the Journal. I think John Mason minuted the meeting, but I am not 100% sure. There was a show of hands vote at the end of it.I will start looking through the Journals but if anyone has them downloaded then they could do a search. To help, if they search on my name they may find it quickly because it was one of the few time I was minuted :-)Apart from the pain of making late nights later! Personally I would go on the attack and say that not only should we not go onto CET, we should scrap BST. It would be better to change work and school hours. Portugal uses GMT and BST even though it borders Spain. People suggesting that the North of Britain could be in different Time Zones are off their rocker. Many Computer Systems and Tachograph systems would not be able to cope. Yes, International Companies would be able to manage, but National or any small business with "cross border" outlets accessing central system may have problems. To change these systems would be big money.

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Re:Daylight Savings Bill

Posted by Andrea Tasselli at 10:55 on 2011 Feb 25

The only possible benefit, if any, would be for daytime observers. As for the nighttime observers it would be pretty tough during the summer season. A small compensation, there is a slight advantage during the winter season. As weather tends to be foulest during winter I shall think that on balance we lose out.Andrea T.

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Re:Daylight Savings Bill

Posted by TonyAngel at 11:56 on 2011 Feb 25

Ok, try this one for size :-)We are told that this country needs more scientists. A substantial number of people are introduced to science via amateur astronomy while they were at school. By going onto DST this will reduce the amount of time during the year for youngsters to visit observatories. This in turn will reduce the numbers exposed to astronomy, therefore reducing the numbers going into science. :-)

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Re: Daylight Savings Bill

Posted by Nick James at 22:54 on 2011 Feb 25

Tony,It was 16 years ago at the meeting of 1995 February (JBAA 105/4, 1995 Aug). I remember it well and I'm quoted in the report as well. I recall that the speaker sort of implied that anyone opposed to the change was guilty of manslaughter. I remember shouting "shame" from the back of the lecture hall. That doesn't happen often at BAA meetings!We've been discussing this Parliamentary Bill on the BAA Council and, as David knows, I'm in the "I think we have bigger things to worry about" camp. I don't think there is much evidence as to how it will affect amateur astronomers and you can make arguments both ways.I'm personally in favour of the change.Nick.

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Re:Daylight Savings Bill

Posted by TonyAngel at 23:29 on 2011 Feb 25

Hi Nick,Thanks. I had not realised that it was that long ago! Being at approx 3.25 degrees West and on CET I do find that it does not affect me, but there again being 15 degrees south of London the difference between winter and summer daylight hours are not as extreme. One advantage is that during the midst of winter I have been able to do a couple of hours observing in the morning when the sky is at it best. In my previous post I am suggesting that the main effect will be a reduction on Public Outreach activities.

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Re:Daylight Savings Bill

Posted by David Mottershead at 21:37 on 2011 Feb 26

HelloThere are valid arguements on both sides of the debate over the Daylight Savings Bill, but from what I have read and researched I can't see any real benefits that will come out of this should the Bill be passed. I feel that overall the change as proposed would be detrimental - not just for astronomers, but in other areas as well. I am opposed to the Bill and have already written to my MP about this, and I would hope that the BAA is also opposing the Daylight Savings Bill.

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Re:Daylight Savings Bill

Posted by Jeremy at 12:58 on 2011 Mar 05

I wrote to my MP last week-end along the lines in the BAA position statement (effect of the hour change on observing the night sky and public outreach, especially to children hence negative impact on developing scientifically interested and literate people), which I thought brought a new angle to the debate. I received a reply this morning acknowledging this angle and acknowledging the importance that astronomy has in turning children towards interests in science. Clearly there are other angles such as less artificial lighting demand (=less energy = less CO2 emission; I am not so sure about this) trade with the EU and more time for recreational activities. But of course, most people think of recreational activities such as sports and sitting in the pub beer garden (or do I hear you say, continental cafe society?). So I think putting the view that other recreational activities, e.g. astronomy, being negatively affected is important. Whilst my MP veers to no change, he will consider the merits of the arguments. So perhaps there is time to influence MPs.I, for one, hope there is no change.Go well!Jeremy

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Re:Daylight Savings Bill

Posted by Nick Atkinson at 18:28 on 2011 Mar 19

I am opposed to this change. When working in Northern Ireland at the time it was very depressing not seeeing daylight until 10am in the morning. Should the Republic of Ireland continue with GMT in the winter there will be a time barrier on the border. I have similar experiance in Scotland maybe they will continue with GMT too.