Welcome to Greenwich Mean Time

As you are probably already aware, the UK is now back on GMT. As ever, this has caused some debate amongst the community.

Whilst listening to Morning Report on BBC Radio 5 Live this morning, and there was a clip from a representative at the Royal Society for the Provention of Accidents, who say brighter evenings would “save lives on the roads and boost business and tourism”.

For most of us, this time of year is a time to get an extra hour in bed, and its quite welcome. But for us at RoSPA, and for many people in the road safety community, we’d rather it didn’t happen at all.

If we weren’t to put the clocks back, as we’ve done this morning, it would give that vital extra hour of daylight, around the kind of time the kids are going home.

When they’ve had a long day at school, they’re feeling groggy, they’re feeling tired, we know that this bit of extra light is going to make a difference. We’ve all been there – its difficult to see padestrians in the dark and sometimes this can have really tragic consequences.

Quoted from an interview on 5 Live

Carl Cristoper (RoSPA representative), then went on to say that he would like a three year trial where we do not change our clocks at the end of summer – a move which would also allign our clocks with Central Europe.

However, were we not to change our clocks, the mornings would be darker… putting the danger in the mornings instead of the evenings. At this time of year, the daylight hours are so short that there would be some sort of danger whatever timezone we choose to be:

In the depths of winter the nights in the UK are anything from 15-19 hours long.

Quoted from BBC Weather Centre

In other words, the days are anything from 5 to 9 hours long.

In my personal opinion, I quite like the idea of changing clocks to suit the time of year; the idea that London is the centre of the world.

In fact, it was 125 years ago this week when the International Meridian Conference took place, to decide where time and space should be measured from. By a vote of 22 to 1, Greenwich won longitude 0°. GMT was agreed as the standard for the world.

Other rivals in the conference were Washington, Berlin and Paris. However, Greenwich won, because 72% of the world’s shipping relied on sea charts which took it as the centre of the world.

According to the BBC News Magazine, the US threw its weight behind Greenwich, taking it out of the race. Berlin supported the US’ support for Greenwich, ruling it out… whilst Paris knew it was going to loose and pushed for a “neutral” meridian.

One final thought: did you know that France is actually on the same time zone as the UK?

They are one country which aligned their clocks to the rest of Central Europe, in order to make lives easier for those travelling by train to neighbouring countries such as Germany and Belgium.

The UK is a seperate island, it is not as important that we do the same. Although many people argue it would help the economy, we are only 1 hour out – taking into account the slightly different working hours you get in different countries, I guess that most people would be working at the same time as us anyway.

What are your views on GMT/changing the clocks? Leave your comments below, or e-mail them to admin@fred-hart.co.uk.

Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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