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Wednesday 19 December 2018

Time is running out to have your say on daylight savings

Current arrangements in the EU require that the clocks are changed twice per year
Current arrangements in the EU require that the clocks are changed twice per year

Payu Tiwari

Remembering to set your alarm clock an hour later or earlier twice a year and the confusion that ensues could soon be a thing of the past as the European Commission has launched a public consultation on whether the daylights savings time should be kept or scrapped.

But time is not on your side. People only have until Thursday, August 16th to have their say in the consultation that was requested by citizens across the EU.

The practice of putting the clocks forward by an hour between March and October is decades old in the majority of EU member states, with the European body requiring that the clocks are changed twice per year to cater to the changing patterns of daylight and to take advantage of the available daylight in a given period.

But not everyone  is convinced of its effectiveness.  Following a number of requests from citizens and the European Parliament, the European Commission has decided to assess whether or not they should be changed and you can play your part in its decision.

Deirdre Clune, Ireland South MEP, who is in favour of scrapping the clocks changing entirely, describes the exercise as a relic from a bygone era that no longer serves a useful purpose.

“Having brighter evenings in winter would lead to improved outcomes for road safety as the roads are statistically more dangerous from the hours of 4-7pm,” she said.

“There are obvious economic benefits such as reduced energy consumption because of less need for artificial light in the evenings with a consequent reduction in CO2 emissions. Brighter evenings in winter would have a positive benefit for public health.”

MEP Clune said: “I would encourage anyone who would like a say in this consultation to offer their views on the public consultation.”

Summertime arrangements at EU level exist since the 1980s and are currently governed by Directive 2000/84/EC.

Energy levels have been one of the main driving points for the implementation of the current arrangements, along with road safety, increasing leisure opportunities stemming from longer daylight during evenings or simply to align national practices to those of neighbours or main trading partners.

Currently, Finland has asked that the bi-annual time switch be abandoned and Lithuania has called for a review of the current system in order to take into account regional and geographical differences.

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