Would scrapping daylight saving time make a difference to farmers?
PUBLISHED: 14:29 27 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:58 27 March 2019
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The European Parliament has voted to scrap “daylight saving” time changes –– but, despite political protests, Norfolk farming leaders don’t expect an outcry if the move is ever applied in the UK.
The EU approved a measure to abolish the twice-yearly custom of changing the clocks forward by an hour in spring and back by an hour autumn.
The draft directive, to take effect from 2021, now goes to European Union member states for further negotiations, and could apply to the UK if it stays in the EU, or during an extended transition period under Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
John Flack, the Conservative MEP for the East of England, criticised the decision, saying: “We’ve long been aware the EU wants too much control over our lives – now they want to control time itself.
“I know that farmers in particular, all across the east of England, value the flexibility that the clock changes bring to get the best from available daylight.”
But National Farmers’ Union (NFU) East Anglia spokesman Brian Finnerty said changing daylight-saving time was unlikely to make much difference to the round-the-clock business of East Anglian farming.
“The NFU doesn’t have strong views on changing the clocks,” he said. “The last time we tested opinion among our members there was a narrow majority in favour of lighter evenings.
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“Whether an extra hour’s daylight would be more beneficial in the morning, or the evening, on Norfolk farms depends very much on the work pattern for each individual business.
“If the UK does follow this EU ruling, we will consult our members, but at this stage we are keeping an open mind.”
Many member states instituted the seasonal time changes during the 1970s oil crisis as an attempt to save energy.
Since 1996, all EU countries change their times simultaneously.
Politicians have not yet decided whether summer or winter time should be adopted as the standard since there are divisions within the EU as to which one should be chosen.
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