Prof Aoife Foley says that by keeping British summer time all year round, less heating and lighting would be needed (Save energy by not turning clocks back in October, says expert, 19 October). Alas, the amount of daylight is not changed by tinkering with the clocks.
Most of England and Wales get only eight hours of daylight in December and January, while Scotland gets barely seven hours. If BST was kept during these months, the sun wouldn’t rise until almost 10am in Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland. Homes, schools and businesses would need to keep their lights on until mid-morning. We have already tried the year-round BST experiment – 50 years ago. It was abandoned after three years.
Dr David Harper
Bar Hill, Cambridgeshire
In winter, we are on the standard time for our part of the planet, matching natural time, when the sun is highest at 12 noon and lowest at 12 midnight. It is in summer that, since the law of 1916, we have been on daylight saving time, calling 7 o’clock “8”, 11 o’clock “12” and so on.
Rather than distorting clocks, it would be better to adapt to the seasons by opening schools and businesses at times appropriate to them. This, too, could be one simple change: an hour earlier in summer.
Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society