The Lighter Later initiative, co-ordinated by the 10:10 climate change campaign (which is trying to reduce the UK's carbon footprint by 10 percent by 2020), is urging the government to keep British Summer Time (BST) all year round.
The Guardian reports that new research states maintaining daylight saving time would save energy and 450,000 tonnes of carbon a year, as well as reduce road accidents, saving the National Health Service (NHS) £200 million annually.
Under the proposals, the clocks would not revert to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) this autumn, but from next year, the clocks would continue in the same pattern of "spring forward, fall back", shifting an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening throughout the year.
Dr Elizabeth Garnsey, from the University of Cambridge, will present her study from the peer-reviewed journal, Energy Policy, at a parliamentary launch today.
Garnsey found that winter demand peaked at sunset and then around 5.30pm, when people were returning from work. The increased energy demand is met by reserve energy generation, such as oil, which is both expensive and polluting.
Daily demand in the UK would be reduced by at least 0.3% if daylight saving time were continued after October, her study found, which would amount to 450,000 tonnes of carbon saved annually, or the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road.
Garnsey told the Guardian that, compared to other measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and renewable technology, changing the clocks would be extremely cheap. “Advancing the clocks would be a one-off administrative change and would save energy in all succeeding years. Many ways of reducing carbon emissions inevitably need investment in new infrastructure, none of which are required to advance the clocks."
More than 11,000 people have signed Lighter Later's petition to the prime minister, David Cameron, urging the coalition government to support the introduction of a trial in 2011. Both the Labour Party and the Tories backed the move before the last general election.
The Daily Telegraph reports that in the past campaigners in Scotland have voiced fears that shifting an hour of daylight to the evenings would make it dangerous for children to walk to school in the winter.