UK urged to stay one hour behind

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The Independent Online
PLANS to scrap Greenwich Mean Time and bring Britain's clocks into line with the rest of Europe are playing 'fast and loose' with the laws of nature, according to curator of astronomy at the Greenwich Royal Observatory.

Kristen Lippincott opposes the move, to be discussed with the European Commission, under which British clocks would go forward an hour.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, motoring groups, the CBI and Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, back the change, which would mean darker mornings in winter and lighter evenings in summer. Many farmers, fishermen, and Scottish and Northern Ireland MPs are against the prospect of darker mornings but industrial lobby groups say the harmonisation would allow freer contacts with European businesses.

Dr Lippincott says that under the international time zone system, each hour of time corresponds to 15 degrees of longitude. She sees the system as the most rational that could have been devised: 'When you look above your head at noon anywhere on the globe, you will see the sun roughly above your head.'

Under Central European Time - effectively creating a new 30 degree band - that all breaks down.

Farmers rising in the west of Ireland at six would be really rising at four. 'The cows wouldn't be ready to milk and the hens would not lay,' she said.