Bluer skies over Britain's white cliffs of Dover?
LONDON – Britain should permanently wind its clocks forward by one hour, bringing lighter evenings to woo more vacationers to the U.K, tourism officials said Monday.
The idea, which has been repeatedly rejected in the past, will be included among a raft of proposals to bolster the country's tourist industry in a report being published later this week.
Prime Minister David Cameron's office said the plan — championed by Conservative lawmaker Rebecca Harris — would see Britain abandon Greenwich Mean Time and fall into line with neighboring France.
Though it could deliver longer summer evenings in southern England, ideal for restaurants and outdoor venues seeking to boost their trade — lawmakers elsewhere in Britain say they would be plunged into darkness.
"The tourism industry has been crying out for extra daylight saving for years. It could extend the tourist season and boost the economy by up to 3.5 billion pounds a year," said Harris, who has raised the issue in Parliament.
Other legislators and much of the public oppose the idea, arguing it would create lengthy, gloomy mornings across much of Scotland and northern England.
Some officials claim that under the proposed switch the sunrise in Scotland could come as late as 10 a.m. during the winter months.
Britain adopted its current daylight savings regime, known as British summer time in 1916 — putting clocks forward by an hour at the end of March and back again at the end of October.
During World War II, summer time was set two hours ahead. The U.K. also experimented with year-round summer time from Feb. 18, 1968, to Oct. 31, 1971, drawing protests in Scotland.
Britain's culture ministry and business ministry both acknowledged there was hefty opposition to any new change. tourism officials say the proposal is included in a new policy document to provoke fresh debate.
"Any such change — or trial of it — could only ever be made if it had the support of all parts of the U.K.," the culture ministry said in a statement. Scotland's government has already said it would veto the plan.