New video commentaries covering four decades of research

The Policy Studies Institute has filmed a series of 8 short video commentaries by Mayer Hillman. They will cover the main themes of Mayer’s research since 1970, including:

  • Making the most of daylight hours
  • Cycling – one of the greatest inventions of all time
  • Climate change
  • Children’s independent mobility
  • The efficacy of cycle helmet wearing

We’re still in the dark ages when it comes to time zones


In acknowledging the benefits of the extra hour of daylight in the evening on every day of the year if our clocks were put forward by an additional hour, your Leader then expresses sympathy for the Scots in the far north, where incidentally about 1 in 1500 of the UK population lives, as the sun would not rise there until 10am in the depths of winter (Winter Time, 26 October).

Would not this sympathy be better placed because at present clocks on GMT result in the sun setting there at that time of year before 3pm? This means that, as well as going to school in the dark, children also have to go home in the dark – a far more dangerous time of the day than the morning owing to the higher volume of traffic. Surely, sunset at 4pm would be preferable?

Dr. Mayer Hillman
Senior Fellow Emeritus
Policy Studies Institute

Letter published in the Observer, 2 November 2014

Is it time to stop putting the clocks back?


Lighter evenings rather than darker mornings are cited in your leading
article (Time’s Up, October 25) as an outcome of the proposal to put our clocks
one hour ahead of their current setting in both summer and winter.

The benefits of doing so are far greater than this statement implies. The
extra hour of daylight in the evenings would be enjoyed on every day of the
year but the gloomier hour in the mornings will only have to be put up with
on the days of winter. For most of the year, at present, the great majority
of the population in effect waste between 200 and 300 daylight hours because
they are still in bed – even in Scotland!

Dr. Mayer Hillman

Senior Fellow Emeritus
Policy Studies Institute

Letter published in the Times, 27 October 2014

Looking a gift horse in the mouth

It must be rare to find a means of vastly improving the quality of life of nearly everyone ‑ men, women and children alike – and for it to cost nothing.

We spend about five of our waking hours before midday but ten to eleven of them after midday. Achieving a better matching of our waking hours and the available daylight during the year by moving clocks forward by an additional hour from their current setting in both winter (one hour ahead of GMT) and summer (two hours ahead of GMT) is a unique way of doing so. Continue reading

More daylight, healthier children

The option of putting the clock forward one hour ahead of its current setting (to GMT plus one hour in the winter and GMT plus two hours in the summer) is now the subject of public debate. The Government is likely to soon reach a decision on this proposition originally made in 1988 following the publication of research showing that the advantages of such a change would far outweigh the disadvantages. In 1989, it was also the subject of a Home Office consultation paper in which the acronym SDST (Single/Double Summer Time) was used to refer to this particular change to the clock. Among its wide range of benefits identified for the general population is the particular improvement that it would bring for children by reducing road accidents among them, increasing their opportunities for outdoor activity, and enhancing their health and the quality of their lives. Continue reading