Researchers call time on putting back clocks

The UK could save at least 500,000 tonnes of CO2 if the clocks were not turned back in October. If clocks were left untouched, then the resulting extra hour of […]

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By Kelvin Ross

The UK could save at least 500,000 tonnes of CO2 if the clocks were not turned back in October.

If clocks were left untouched, then the resulting extra hour of daylight would result in less electricity use.

The case was put to MPs this morning at a meeting of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, chaired by Tim Yeo.

The committee heard from Simon Hill and Elizabeth Garnsey of Cambridge University.

Dr Hill said that the university had undertaken research to “get a feel of where we would be if we were on Daylight Saving Time rather than GMT”.

The researchers looked at the energy profile of the UK from 2001 to 2008 and Dr Garnsey said that not putting back clocks was a sure fire way to cut carbon.

“There has never been any proof that putting the clocks back has any benefit for energy,” she said. “If we reduce energy demand, we reduce emissions and we’re more likely to achieve our targets.”

Dr Garnsey also said that not changing the clocks would put the UK in the same time zone as the rest of Europe which would have huge benefits for the UK’s financial trading centres.

Alan Sharp of the National grid said that once the clocks go back this weekend, the electricity demand will be higher by “around 1000-1500 mega watts”.

He explained that there are three power peaks throughout the day: a morning peak, a teatime peak and a night-time peak. However, he said from September onwards, darkness falls around 15 minutes earlier every day, ultimately pushing the night-time peak on top of the teatime peak.