EU plans to abolish daylight saving time and make summer last forever



The European Commission plans to scrap daylight saving hours

Clocks daylight saving timeEuropean summer time arrangements have been around since the 80s and are currently governed by Directive 2000/84/EC. Shutterstock

  • The European Commission is considering scrapping daylight saving time.
  • There's one week left to give your opinion on the matter, according to the form on their website.
  • The effects of abandoning daylight saving time could be extensive, significantly affecting agriculture, health, and internal markets.

The European Commission is planning to scrap daylight saving time and there's one week left to give your opinion on the matter, according to the form they have available online.

Open on the European Commission's website until August 16, the proposal was put forward by MEPs last February with the hope of establishing the benefits of the system and whether it needed revising.

As well as choosing whether your contributions are published with your details or anonymously, the form also provides a field where you can indicate whether you're an individual, a Member State or an organisation.

You're then invited to answer five questions on:

  • your feelings about the change
  • whether you'd prefer to keep or abolish the system for all EU countries
  • why you'd like to retain or abandon the change
  • the importance, on a scale of 1 to 10, of the measure to you
  • whether you'd prefer to keep summer or winter time if daylight saving time were abolished

Agriculture and health are just some aspects that could be affected by a change to the existing directive.

Depending on the outcome of this questionnaire and the overall evaluation of the system, the Commission may well propose that Member States amend the current directive that governs the change throughout the European Union, taking into account that all Member States would have to agree to the amendment if it were to be successfully adopted.

Here are some ways in which Europe could be affected if the amendment were to be implemented.

Energy

Realistically, the energy savings from daylight saving time are very small.

It was originally Benjamin Franklin who first suggested the idea of shifting days by one hour in summer in 1784. He saw the opportunity to save candles by making the most of the sun. The idea was put forward again during the First World War, and the idea was applied again in 1976 after the oil crises caused the cost of energy to shoot up.

Realistically, the energy savings from daylight saving time are very small, according to a study published in October 2019 by the European Parliament. The change in consumption is somewhere between 0.5% and 2.5% depending on the country's latitude.

Health

The effect of daylight saving changes on the human biorhythm may be more serious than previously thought. Omar Havana/Getty Images

The MEPs who originally triggered this question referred to numerous studies highlighting the negative effects of daylight saving time on human beings, such as sleep and mood disorders that can lead to depression.

According to a study published in Epidemiology in 2019 carried out with 185,000 subjects, diagnoses of depression during the transition from summer to winter time increase by 11%.

"Chronobiologic research findings suggest that the effect on the human biorhythm may be more severe than previously thought," the Commission said on its site.

Likewise, the transition to summer time has positive effects that are linked to an increase in outdoor activities and long summer evenings.

Road Safety

Evidence remains inconclusive with regard to the relationship between summer time arrangements and road traffic accidents, according to the Commission. Shutterstock

"Evidence remains inconclusive with regard to the relationship between summer time arrangements and road traffic accidents," said the Commission. "In principle, sleep deprivation from advancing the clock in spring could increase the risk of accidents. At the same time, extended daylight hours during summer evenings are considered to have a positive effect on road safety. However, it is generally difficult to attribute directly the effect of summer time arrangements on accident rates compared to other factors."

Agriculture

Cows can experience a stress period of about a week due to daylight saving time, affecting the quality and quantity of milk they produce.

Where breeding is concerned, the time change triggers a change in milking times, which disrupts the biological rhythm of the animals. Some cows, for example, experience a stress period of about a week, which results in a decrease in milk production and quality.

However, the Commission's report states that these time change disturbances "appear to have largely disappeared due to the deployment of new equipment, artificial lighting and automated technologies", adding that "an extra daylight-hour during summer can also be an advantage allowing extended working hours for outdoor activities, such as working in fields and harvesting".

Internal markets

Uncoordinated time changes between Member States would be detrimental to the internal market. Greg Sandoval/Business Insider

Beyond these main points, the Commission has underlined the possible consequences for the European internal market.

European summer time arrangements have existed since the 1980s and are currently governed by Directive 2000/84/EC, established in 2001.

It outlines the dates for the transition by stipulating that Member States switch to summer time on the last Sunday in March and switch back to winter time on the last Sunday in October.

Whatever the outcome of the consultation, Member States will have to decide unanimously to amend the directive.

The Commission has underlined that "allowing uncoordinated time changes between Member States would be detrimental to the internal market due to higher costs to cross-border trade, inconveniences in transport, communications and travel, and lower productivity in the internal market for goods and services".






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Date: 10.12.2018, 17:44 / Views: 63593