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06/23/2008, States of Jersey (Bailiwick of Jersey), the Channel Islands-
"GMT: first public vote on keeping the evenings lighter all year round",
Times Online, by David Brown
Source: States of Jersey, “The Benefits and Disadvantages of Adopting Central European Time in Jersey”


See Europe Time Zone Map with current time.

CENTRAL EUROPEAN TIME: REFERENDUM.

Celebrations of the summer solstice at the weekend marked the beginning of the end for those joyful evenings when there is still enough light for a quick round of golf after work.

Now a landmark vote later this year offers a glimmer of hope to people who dream of extra evening hours of light.

Jersey will become the first of the British Isles to hold a referendum on abandoning Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and aligning its clocks with the French. The clocks would move forward an hour throughout the year.

Supporters say that the adoption of Central European Time (CET) would maximise the use of daylight and bring Jersey into line with most of the Continent.

Senator Jimmy Perchard, who proposed the referendum, said: “Culturally, socially and economically there will be many advantages. We would have an hour’s head start on the rest of the country and geographically we are much nearer to France.”

He admitted that it was proving controversial among the 91,000 islanders, who were fiercely proud of being a British crown dependency.

“Most Jersey people would be delighted with the change if England and Wales did it at the same time, but some will be reluctant to do it alone,” Mr Perchard said.

There has been a growing campaign in Britain to adopt continental times. During winter an estimated third of the population are still asleep when the sun rises but arrive home from school or work in the dark and cold.

A Private Member’s Bill by Tim Yeo, the former Conservative minister, ran out of time last year after opposition by Scottish and Northern Irish MPs. The Tories are now carrying out a full review of evidence about a possible move to European time, including statistics on accidents, economic impact and energy use.

Tobias Ellwood, Shadow Tourism Minister, said: “We want to ensure the entire country is on the same time and that public opinion in Scotland and Northern Ireland is behind the plan.”

The party is reviewing the dates the clocks change between winter and summer to ensure maximum use of daylight hours. At present they change 53 days before the summer solstice and 101 days after. Mr Ellwood said: “There are obviously a number of benefits from maximising the use of daylight throughout the year.”

The most recent opinion poll on the subject showed 54 per cent in favour of the moving to CET, with 59 per cent backing it in southern England but only 40 per cent in Scotland.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has calculated that deaths and serious injuries on the roads could be cut by 450 a year. Scientists at the University of Cambridge said that the dark evenings cause domestic customers to use an extra 5 per cent electricity, producing an additional 170,000 tonnes of CO2. Britain last attempted to abandon GMT in 1968 when twice-yearly clock changes were replaced by moving them an hour ahead of GMT throughout the year. It was dropped in 1971 amid protests from farmers and other early risers.

Jersey’s Council of Ministers has said that the electorate has to consider if an extra hour of the daylight in the evening outweighs the darker mornings. They must also compare the benefits of being in a timezone used from Spain to Poland with the disadvantages of moving out of that used by the UK, Ireland and Portugal with a total population of 74 million.

CET, with the use of Daylight Saving Time, has been adopted by 31 European countries with a total population about 450 million.

The result of the referendum on October 15 is not binding on the States. It said that any change would be for an initial three-year trial period. A supporter of the change pointed out: “We already have our own coins, bank-notes and stamps, so what difference does the time make?”

Another said: “I would just keep my watch at UK time, make allowances for it, and not get my television viewings messed up.”

One asked, perhaps unhelpfully: “What about a compromise: moving the clocks forward 30 minutes?”

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