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Lighter Evenings (Experiment) Bill [HL]


 

These notes refer to the Lighter Evenings (Experiment) Bill [HL] as introduced in the House of Lords on 30th November 2005 [HL Bill 48]

LIGHTER EVENINGS (EXPERIMENT) BILL [HL]

EXPLANATORY NOTES

INTRODUCTION

These explanatory notes relate to the Lighter Evenings (Experiment) Bill [HL] as introduced in the House of Lords on 30th November 2005. They have been produced by the peer in charge of the Bill, the Lord Tanlaw, in order to assist the reader of the Bill and help inform debate on it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.

The notes need to be read in conjunction with the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the Bill.

BACKGROUND

Section 9 of the Interpretation Act 1979 provides that, subject to section 3 of the Summer Time Act 1972, whenever an expression of time occurs in an Act, the time referred to shall, unless it is otherwise specifically stated, be held to be Greenwich mean time.

The Summer Time Act 1972 provides that, during the period of summer time, the time for general purposes in Great Britain is one hour in advance of Greenwich mean time. The period of summer time for the purposes of that Act is the period beginning at one o'clock in the morning of the last Sunday in March and ending at one o'clock in the morning of the last Sunday in October.

SUMMARY

The Bill will advance time in England to one hour ahead of Greenwich mean time during winter and to two hours ahead of Greenwich mean time during summer. This change will come into effect on 29th October 2006 and will cease on 25th October 2009.

The Scottish Parliament is given the power to "opt-in" to the change in respect of Scotland, as is the National Assembly for Wales in respect of Wales. If the Northern Ireland Assembly is not suspended, it may "opt-in" to the change in respect of Northern Ireland; if it is suspended, the Secretary of State is given the power to do so. If any of the devolved administrations (or the Secretary of State) decide to "opt-in" to the experiment, they may do so at any time, but the time will revert to its present status on 25th October 2009.

The effect of the Bill will be to create lighter evenings and darker mornings. It will allow, but does not specifically provide, for an evaluation of the consequences of advancing the time in the United Kingdom.

COMMENTARY ON CLAUSES

Clauses 1 - Time for general purposes

Clause 1 provides that the time for general purposes shall be one hour in advance of Greenwich mean time.

Clause 2 - Amendment of the Summer Time Act 1972

Clause 2 amends section 1(1) of the Summer Time Act 1972 to take account of the Bill. The effect will be that in summer the time will be two hours in advance of Greenwich mean time.

Clause 3 - Amendment of the Interpretation Act 1978

Clause 3 amends section 9 of the Interpretation Act 1978 to take account of the Bill. For as long as the Bill is in force, all references in statute to time shall be held to be the time set out in the Bill.

Clause 4 - Amendment of Scotland Act 1998

Clause 4 amends the Scotland Act 1998 to provide the Scottish Parliament with the power to decide whether to bring into force in Scotland the provisions of the Bill. At present, by virtue of section L5 of Schedule 5 to that Act timescales, time zones and the subject-matter of the Summer Time Act 1972 are reserved matters. The Bill will provide the Scottish Parliament with the limited power to "opt-in" to the experiment; it will not devolve power to alter the time to the Scottish Parliament.

COMMENCEMENT AND EXPIRY DATE

In England, the Bill will come into force at two o'clock in the morning of 29th October 2006.

In Wales, the Bill will come into force on such day as the National Assembly for Wales decides; and it may decide not to commence the Bill at all.

In Scotland, the Bill will come into force on such day as the Scottish Parliament decides; and it may decide not to commence the Bill at all.

In Northern Ireland, if the Northern Ireland Assembly is not suspended the Bill will come into force on such day as the Assembly decides; and it may decide not to commence the Bill at all. If the Assembly is suspended, the Secretary of State will decide when the Bill comes into force; and he may decide not to commence the Bill at all.

If the Bill is not brought into force in any of Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, the time in that territory will remain as it is at present.

The Bill will expire at two o'clock in the morning of 25th October 2009. After that the time in the United Kingdom will return to the present time.

 
 
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Prepared: 13 December 2005