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Clocks go back amid rising winter-time discontent

DPA/The Local · 24 Oct 2009, 15:57

Published: 24 Oct 2009 15:57 GMT+02:00

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Stories of the hassles caused by the bi-annual one-hour trade-off seem to increase year by year. In March, when the clocks turn forward by an hour, children turn up at school late or tired. This spring, kids at a high-school in Berlin even voted on whether to move their timetable an hour later, and found scientific support from sleep experts.

A survey published in March in Bild newspaper also revealed that public opinion was turning against daylight-saving time. 55 percent of Germans said they would prefer to get rid of the ritual, while 41 percent were in favour of keeping it.

Other statistics show that the time shifts have led to an increase in road accidents, particularly involving wild animals, who suddenly find cars racing through their territories at unexpected times.

Meanwhile, the supposed benefits of daylight-saving have become harder to discern. One of the original reasons for the time change, introduced in Germany in 1980, was to make more efficient use of daylight and energy - the decision was made partly in reaction to the 1970's oil crisis.

But energy companies have failed to register any significant reduction in energy consumption in the summer. Although fewer lights are switched on in the evenings, more heating is used in the mornings, the German Federal Association for Energy and Water reported.

Despite the European Union's decision in 2001 to fix daylight savings time for all member states, Germany's Free Democratic Party began an initiative this week to abolish the practice.

The FDP energy expert Gudrun Kopp told the Rheinische Post daily on Thursday, “We want to start a new initiative that will end the reoccurring burden people face with the changes.”

Story continues below…

She criticised the last German government for failing to take up the issue before the EU extended the current summer time to all 27 members, but said the FDP would still press the matter since it was clear the time change had “absolutely no purpose” and plenty of disadvantages.

Kopp told the paper it was logical to keep summer time, when the sun sets later, as Europe’s “normal time” since it improved people’s quality of life.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:36 October 25, 2009 by romber58
Boooring!!!.Every year the same/similar arguments appear in the Press.

Never it seems in March when the clocks go forward.

I travel between London and Berlin regularly and the hour difference each way is nothing.I can only assume that this hoary old chestnut is given to young journalists every year as a kind of initiation .....The last gurgitations of "Das Sommerloch.Give us a rest from your crap!
00:19 October 27, 2009 by Payton L. Inkletter
In May this year we here in Western Australia voted in a daylight saving referendum, at the completion of a trial, and for the fourth time in 34 years we rejected it.

The social engineers in our Parliament were so intent on forcing it upon us that this recent trial was 3 years long. Our capital city Perth has, if I recall correctly, the most unclouded sunshine hours of any capital in the world, especially in summer, so it is not as if the average citizen is sun deprived, even in our famous sunny winters.

Our Premier, Colin Barnett, then called for it to be left alone for twenty years; the engineers won't wait that long: ten years at the most I reckon, and they'd love to make the next trial twenty years long.
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