A brief history of time – Logistics Manager Magazine

Four out of five Europeans want to put an end to the practice of turning the clocks back and forward every six months, according to the European Commission.

Malory Davies, FCILT, Editor.

Malory Davies, FCILT, Editor.

In the past, the Commission has limited itself to insisting that clock changes should be coordinated – citing the problems, notably for the transport and logistics sectors, which arise from an uncoordinated application of clock-changes in the course of the year.

However, a recent consultation covering 4.6 million people across the continent found that 84 per cent did not want clock-changes at all.

The preliminary results indicate that 76 per cent of the respondents consider that changing the clock twice a year is a ‘very negative’ or ‘negative’ experience. Considerations related to the negative health impacts, increase of road accidents or the lack of energy savings, were put forward by respondents as motivations to put an end to the change.

“We will now act accordingly and prepare a legislative proposal to the European parliament and the council, who will then decide together,” said commissioner for transport Violeta Bulc.

For the UK, as it leaves the EU, this could prove to be a particularly thorny issue. To carry on as normal would mean that the UK steps out of sync with the rest of Europe every half year – causing all the problems for transport and logistics that the present policy solved more than 20 years ago.

There have been attempts to move to a system where the UK stays on British Summer Time all year round – most recently in 2011. The argument is that it would give more daylight on Winter afternoons, which apparently would result in fewer road accidents. The corollary, of course, is that it gets light later in the morning.

Not surprisingly, the opposition to such an arrangement increases the further north you go. By the time you get to the north of Scotland, it would not get light until mid-morning.

This is hardly the most critical issue in the Brexit negotiations. But it is an issue that generates a huge amount of heat (if not a lot of light). And the potential to make life a bit more complicated for transport and logistics professionals is undeniable. Perhaps it is worth devoting a little time to analysing the full implications.