another attempt to change the clocks in the UK

Clive D.W. Feather clive at
Mon Jul 26 07:26:09 UTC 2004

Peter Ilieve said:
> It is a short Bill of only four sections. It changes the time for general
> purposes to one hour in advance of GMT. It amends the Scotland Act 1998
> to make time zones and summer time arrangements a devolved rather than
> a reserved matter, which will allow the Scottish parliament to keep
> Scotland on GMT if they so wish. It makes some amendments to the Summer
> Time Act 1972 which I presume are to allow Northern Ireland, the Channel
> Islands and the Isle of Man to do their own thing as well (I don't have
> a copy of the 1972 Act handy to check this).

> Bills like this only really stand a chance if they have government
> support, as the government can give them parliamentary time. I have
> spoken to someone at the DTI (the department now dealing with time
> related stuff) and they told me that the government is not in favour
> of this change, as it would be disruptive to business, transport and
> tourism, particularly if the UK no longer used a single time zone.

Great Britain is far too narrow (east to west) to need other than a single
time zone [1]. It would also be seriously disruptive for Northern Ireland
and Eire to have different zones. Never having been to Northern Ireland, I
don't know how much GB-NI traffic there is and how disruptive a time
difference would be.

I agree with the DTI that this proposal - as stated - is a bad idea. In
particular, giving devolved powers to Scotland in this area is extremely
dumb and likely to kill the proposal stone dead.

There are arguments for moving the UK to GMT+1/GMT+2 instead of the present
GMT/GMT+1, including lighter evenings and cross-Channel traffic. There are
arguments against, notably Scottish winter mornings. But multiple zones is
just dumb.

[1] The Eurotunnel concession area is in zones GMT+1/GMT+2, but it is the
only part of the UK mainland to not be in the main UK time zone.

Clive D.W. Feather  | Work:  <clive at>   | Tel:    +44 20 8495 6138
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