Why do we put the clocks back? Mayer Hillman debates daylight saving

Mayer Hillman

PSI emeritus fellow Mayer Hillman recently took part in an online head-to-head with Angus MacNeil, the SNP member of parliament for the Western Isles, titled ‘Daylight saving: time to join Europe?’. Mayer has long been a proponent of extending daylight saving time and has produced a number of papers on the question.

Mayer describes the UK as a ‘time island’ - out of sync with the rest of Europe and losing significant advantages due to the loss of ‘usable hours’ of daylight. Switching the UK to Central European Time (CET) would mean darker mornings but lighter evenings. Being in the same timezone as Europe would make business and travel within Europe easier, he argues, and be a boost to the leisure industry. There would be benefits in allowing people longer to be out and about during daylight hours in the evenings: ‘Dusk acts as a curfew on two particular groups: children and the elderly, preventing them from attending activities and contributing to the rising level of childhood obesity.’

Mayer also argues that there would also be cost savings for businesses - and environmental benefits for us all: ‘My research shows that, overall, change to the SDST clock would bring cost savings for businesses and households. Lighting demand in offices and public buildings alone could be reduced by about a third.’

To read the full debate, visit the Lloyds Bank Gameplan page.

Mayer Hillman’s papers on daylight saving include:

Time for a Change: setting clocks forward by one hour throughout the year - a new review of the evidence (1993)

Making the Most of Daylight Saving: the implications for Scotland (2010)

Making the Most of Daylight Saving: the implications for Northern Ireland (2011)