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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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WHITEFORD VOTES AGAINST TIME-CHANGE PLAN

Friday, 3 December 2010

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has today condemned proposals to change daylight savings time after Tory, LibDem and Labour MPs backed a Private Members Bill which seeks to leave Scotland with darker mornings.

The Bill, which now moves to Committee stage, would require the UK Government to conduct a cross-departmental analysis of the potential costs and benefits of advancing time by one hour for all, or part of, the year. If this analysis found that a clock change would benefit the UK, the Bill requires that the Government initiate a trial clock change to determine the full implications.

Speaking in the House of Commons earlier today during the debate, the Banff & Buchan MP referred to the dangers of roads remaining icy for longer as a result of the time change. She said:

“The benefits of the measure are rather untested and are outweighed by the dangers of driving in hazardous conditions, which have not been properly considered. Some of the evidence we have heard demonstrates that the methodology is rather flawed and the evidence is incomplete.

“The other factor that has not been considered is that, when the experiment took place in the 1960s, road fatalities in the North of Scotland did, indeed, increase. That happened despite the fact that, during the same period, speed limits, drink-driving legislation and seat belts were introduced. Unless we believe that none of those measures had any impact on road safety, we have to take some of the evidence on road safety with a big pinch of salt. Early mornings are a hazardous time to be on the roads. We cannot just isolate the one issue of darkness and extrapolate from that without considering the wider context.”

Commenting afterwards, Dr Whiteford said:

“The progress of this Bill is literally a wake-up call to the prospect of dark mornings for everyone north of Manchester, and has been pushed through by MPs from the south with no regard to the impact these changes would have on the quality of life for people in the north.

“The evidence put forward supporting this change is dubious at best and the proponents of this Bill have ignored the sound reasons why this change was abandoned after being trialled in the 1970s, and more recently by other European neighbours who found that the shift had a damaging effect on safety, health, energy consumption and commerce.

“This change would be acutely felt in Scotland, raising real safety and quality of life concerns, and this is now a real test for the Tory Government and its claims of a respect agenda for Scotland. It is also outrageous that this step is being taken without any consultation with the devolved administrations.”

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