It seems the great British public is being robbed annually of that fundamental and free commodity: daylight. How many have cottoned on to this? We have never been consulted as far as I know [have we?] yet we accept the loss of hours of daylight. How can this be?
In both northern and southern hemispheres the clocks are moved forward or back by one hour each spring and autumn. Twice a year, everyone says “Don’t forget!” [and someone always does]. This is what happens in the UK:
Midsummer, the day with the most hours of light in the Northern Hemisphere, is June 22nd and mid-winter is half a year later on December 22nd. Our clocks are adjusted by one hour somewhere between the two to allow us to make the most of all that lovely summer daylight [and to reduce the mid-winter gloom]. You might imagine the spring and autumn changes would occur at roughly the same distance from mid-summer, but you would be wrong. In fact, we are short of Summer Time by six weeks. Here’s how:
March 27th 2011, when the nation’s clocks will move forward one hour, is thirteen weeks after mid-winter and TWELVE weeks before midsummer. October 31st, when the clocks go back, is seven and a half weeks before mid-winter and EIGHTEEN weeks after midsummer. [This a long-established pattern.] Eighteen minus twelve is six, six weeks = forty-two days. Put another way, British Summer Time is six weeks shorter than it could be.
How can this be put right?
On March 27th there will be more than thirteen and a half hours between sunrise and sunset, while on October 31st there will be a little over nine and a half hours, a difference of four hours. If you look for a date in spring when the daylight hours are the same as October 31st you reach a point somewhere before mid-February. [February 13th this enjoyed nine hours fifty minutes of daylight.] Therefore the spring change needs to be made on a February weekend around six weeks before the present time.
Thank you for reading this complicated narrative. I hope that you might be inspired to have a look at this for yourself and see if you come to the same conclusions. With moves afoot to reintroduce “Double Summer Time” it could be a good moment to think about campaigning for ‘fair summertime’.