Time Zones

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 2nd November 2015.

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Photo of Lord Tanlaw Lord Tanlaw Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether the prime meridian can be correctly identified and correlated with GPS by the construction (with permission) in Greenwich Park of a suitable marker located at zero longitude.

Photo of Baroness Neville-Rolfe Baroness Neville-Rolfe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

As the reference frame for the Global Positioning System (GPS) is established through a mathematical interpretation of satellite radio signals, rather than a physical meridian, it is not conceptually appropriate to represent it in the same way as other meridians have historically been marked at Greenwich.

We do not see any practical benefit in changing the reference point for UT1 even if it was a decision the UK Government could make unilaterally. Such a change could cause confusion as could use of the term “Greenwich Meridian Time”. In line with the International Telecommunication Union Radio Regulations, all time‑signal broadcasts in the UK transmit. the international timescale UTC, and so any change to UT1 or GMT would have no impact on the time-signal available to the UK public.

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