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During British Summer Time (BST),
civil time In modern usage, civil time refers to statutory time scales designated by civilian authorities, or to local time indicated by clocks. Modern civil time is generally standard time in a time zone at a fixed offset from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC ...
in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...
is advanced one hour forward of
Greenwich Mean Time Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, counted from midnight. At different times in the past, it has been calculated in different ways, including being calculated from noon; as a conseq ...
(GMT) (in effect, changing the
time zone A time zone is an area that observes a uniform standard time for legal, commercial and social purposes. Time zones tend to follow the boundaries between countries and their subdivisions instead of strictly following longitude, because it is c ...
from UTC+00:00 to UTC+01:00), so that mornings have one hour less daylight, and evenings one hour more. BST begins at 01:00 GMT on the last Sunday of March and ends at 01:00 GMT (02:00 BST) on the last Sunday of October. The starting and finishing times of
daylight saving Daylight saving time (DST), also daylight savings time or daylight time (the United States and Canada) and summer time (United Kingdom, European Union, and others), is the practice of advancing clocks (typically by one hour) during warmer month ...
were aligned across the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of and an estimated total population of about 447million. The EU has developed an internal s ...
on 22 October 1995, and the UK retained this alignment after it left the EUfor instance, BST and
Central European Summer Time Central European Summer Time (CEST), sometimes referred to as Central European Daylight Time (CEDT), is the standard clock time observed during the period of summer daylight-saving in those European countries which observe Central European Time (CE ...
begin and end on the same Sundays at exactly the same time (that is, 02:00
Central European Time Central European Time (CET) is a standard time which is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The time offset from UTC can be written as UTC+01:00. It is used in most parts of Europe and in a few North African countries. CET is al ...
, which is 01:00 GMT). Between 1972 and 1995, the BST period was defined as "beginning at two o'clock, Greenwich mean time, in the morning of the day after the third Saturday in March or, if that day is Easter Day, the day after the second Saturday in March, and ending at two o'clock, Greenwich mean time, in the morning of the day after the fourth Saturday in October." The following table lists recent-past and near-future start and end dates of British Summer Time:


Instigation and early years


Early history

British Summer Time was first established by the
Summer Time Act 1916 Summer is the hottest of the four temperate seasons, falling after spring and before autumn. At or around the summer solstice (about 3 days before Midsummer Day), the earliest sunrise and latest sunset occurs, the days are longest and the n ...
, after a campaign by builder
William Willett William Willett (10 August 1856 – 4 March 1915) was a British builder and a promoter of British Summer Time. Biography Willett was born in Farnham, Surrey, and educated at the Philological School. After some commercial experience, he enter ...
. His original proposal was to move the clocks forward by 80 minutes, in 20-minute weekly steps on Sundays in April and by the reverse procedure in September. In 1916, BST began on 21 May and ended on 1 October. Willett never lived to see his idea implemented, having died in early 1915.


Periods of deviation

In the summers of 1941 to 1945, during the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—forming two opposing milit ...
,
Britain Britain usually refers to: * United Kingdom, a sovereign state in Europe comprising the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands * Great Britain, the largest island in the United Kingdom * Ro ...
was two hours ahead of GMT and operating on ''British Double Summer Time'' (BDST). To bring this about, the clocks were not put back by an hour at the end of summer in 1940 (BST having started early, on 25 February 1940). In subsequent years, clocks continued to be advanced by one hour each spring (to BDST) and put back by an hour each autumn (to BST). On 15 July 1945, the clocks were put back by an hour, so BDST reverted to BST; the clocks were put back by an additional hour on 7 October 1945, so BST reverted to GMT for the winter of 1945. In 1946, BST operated as normal (from April to October) but in 1947, BDST was re-introduced with effect from 13 April (BST having started on 16 March). The clocks were brought back in line with GMT at the end of summer in 1947, being put back by an hour on 10 August (to BST) and by another hour on 2 November (to GMT). An inquiry during the winter of 1959–60, in which 180 national organisations were consulted, revealed a slight preference for a change to all-year GMT+1, but instead the length of summer time was extended as a trial. A further inquiry during 1966–1967 led the government of
Harold Wilson James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from October 1964 to June 1970, and again from March 1974 to April 1976. Wilson was the Leader of the Labour Pa ...

Harold Wilson
to introduce the British Standard Time experiment, with Britain remaining on GMT+1 throughout the year. This took place between 27 October 1968 and 31 October 1971, when there was a reversion to the previous arrangement. Analysis of accident data for the first two years of the experiment, published by
HMSO The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) is the body responsible for the operation of His/Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO) and of other public information services of the United Kingdom. The OPSI is part of the National Archives of the ...
in October 1970, indicated that while there had been an increase in casualties in the morning, there had been a substantially greater decrease in casualties in the evening, with a total of around 2,700 fewer people killed and seriously injured during the first two winters of the experiment, at a time when about 1,000 people a day were killed or injured on the roads. However, the period coincided with the introduction of drink/drive legislation; the estimates were later modified downwards in 1989. The trial was the subject of a House of Commons debate on 2 December 1970 when, on a
free vote A conscience vote or free vote is a type of vote in a legislative body where legislators are allowed to vote according to their own personal conscience rather than according to an official line set down by their political party. In a parliamentary s ...
, the House of Commons voted by 366 to 81 votes to end the experiment.


Debates on reform

Campaigners, including the
Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is a British charity that aims to save lives and prevent life-changing injuries which occur as a result of accidents. In the past, it has successfully campaigned on issues of road safety, ...
(RoSPA) and environmental campaigners 10:10, have made recommendations that British Summer Time be maintained during the winter months, and that a "double summertime" be applied to the current British Summer Time period, putting the UK one hour ahead of GMT during winter, and two hours ahead during summer. This proposal is referred to as "Single/Double Summer Time" (SDST), and would effectively mean the UK adopting the same time zone as European countries such as France, Germany, and mainland Spain (
Central European Time Central European Time (CET) is a standard time which is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The time offset from UTC can be written as UTC+01:00. It is used in most parts of Europe and in a few North African countries. CET is al ...
and
Central European Summer Time Central European Summer Time (CEST), sometimes referred to as Central European Daylight Time (CEDT), is the standard clock time observed during the period of summer daylight-saving in those European countries which observe Central European Time (CE ...
). RoSPA has suggested that this would reduce the number of accidents over this period as a result of the lighter evenings. RoSPA have called for the 1968–71 trial to be repeated with modern evaluation methods. 10:10's " Lighter Later" campaign, in addition to publicising the risk reductions described above, also highlights the potential energy benefits of Single/Double Summer Time, arguing that the change could "save almost 500,000 tonnes of CO2 each year, equivalent to taking 185,000 cars off the road permanently". These proposals are opposed by some farmers and other outdoor workers and by many residents of Scotland and Northern Ireland, as it would mean that in northern Britain and Northern Ireland the winter sunrise would not occur until 10:00 or even later. However, in March 2010, the National Farmers' Union indicated that it was not against Single/Double Summer Time, with many farmers expressing a preference for the change. Other opponents of daylight saving measures say that darker mornings, especially in Scotland, could affect children going to school and people travelling to work. A
YouGov YouGov is a British international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm, headquartered in the UK, with operations in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. History YouGov was founded in the UK in May 2000 by Ste ...
poll taken in March 2015 suggested that 40% of the people surveyed would prefer an end to the practice of changing the clocks, while only 33% wanted to keep it (the rest were indifferent or not sure). A recent YouGov survey showed that 44% would prefer to keep changing the clocks as now and only 39% backed having constant summertime. 56% were against stopping changing the clocks in Scotland. Sunrise would be as late as 10 a.m. in the winter in northern parts. It is feared that colder icier roads combined with people still half asleep in the dark is bad for health and safety.


Current statute and parliamentary attempts at change

The current arrangement is now defined by the Summer Time Order 2002 which defines BST as "... the period beginning at one o'clock, Greenwich mean time, in the morning of the last Sunday in March and ending at one o'clock, Greenwich mean time, in the morning of the last Sunday in October." This period was stipulated by a
directive Directive may refer to: * Directive (European Union), a legislative act of the European Union * Directive (programming), a computer language construct that specifies how a compiler should process input * "Directive" (poem), a poem by Robert Frost * ...
(2000/84/EC) of the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legislation, commonly on the proposal of the Europea ...
which required European countries to implement a common summer time (as originally introduced in 1997, in Directive 97/44/EC). In part because of Britain's longitudinal length, debate emerges most years over the applicability of BST, and the issue is the subject of parliamentary debate. In 2004, English MP
Nigel Beard Christopher Nigel Beard (10 October 1936 – 31 July 2017) was a British Labour politician who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bexleyheath and Crayford in London from 1997 to 2005. He previously contested several parliamentary constituen ...
tabled a
Private Member's Bill A private member's bill in a parliamentary system of government is a bill (proposed law) introduced into a legislature by a legislator who is not acting on behalf of the executive branch. The designation "private member's bill" is used in most Wes ...
in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In the UK and Canada, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. The lead ...
proposing that England and Wales should be able to determine their own time independently of Scotland and Northern Ireland. In 2005,
Lord Tanlaw Simon Brooke Mackay, Baron Tanlaw (born 30 March 1934) is a former member of the House of Lords. Family and business interests Tanlaw is the fourth son of Kenneth Mackay, 2nd Earl of Inchcape. His mother, the 2nd Earl's second wife, was Leonora ...
introduced the Lighter Evenings (Experiment) Bill into the
House of Lords The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by appointment, heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Members of the House of Lords are dr ...

House of Lords
, which would advance winter and summer time by one hour for a three-year trial period at the discretion of "devolved bodies", allowing
Scotland Scotland ( sco|Scotland, gd|Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) border with England to the southeast and is otherwis ...
and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga|Tuaisceart Éireann ; Ulster-Scots: ') is variously described as a country, province, or region which is part of the United Kingdom. Located in the northeast of the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland shares a border to ...

Northern Ireland
the option not to take part. The proposal was opposed by the government. The bill received its second reading on 24 March 2006; however, it did not pass into law. The
Local Government Association The Local Government Association (LGA) is the national membership body for local authorities. Its core membership is made up of 339 English councils and the 22 Welsh councils through the Welsh Local Government Association.   The LGA is po ...
has also called for such a trial.


Daylight Saving Bill 2010–12

The Daylight Saving Bill 2010–12, a private member's bill by Conservative backbench MP
Rebecca Harris Elizabeth Rebecca Scott Harris (born 22 December 1967) is a British Conservative Party politician who was elected at the 2010 general election as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Castle Point. Education Harris was born in Windsor, Berkshire an ...
, would have required the government to conduct an analysis of the potential costs and benefits of advancing time by one hour for all, or part of, the year. If such an analysis were to find that a clock change would benefit the UK, the bill required that the government should then initiate a trial clock change to determine the full effects. In 2010, Prime Minister
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British politician, businessman, lobbyist and author who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Witney from 2001 to 2016 ...
stated he would seriously consider proposals in the bill. The bill was only likely to be passed with government support. Despite initial opposition in Scotland to the move, Cameron stated his preference was for the change to apply across the United Kingdom, stating "We are a United Kingdom. I want us to have a united time zone." A survey in late October 2010 of about 3,000 people for British energy firm npower suggested that a narrow majority of Scots may be in favour of this change, though the Scottish Government remained opposed. The bill was debated again in Parliament in November 2011 and sent to committee in December 2011. In January 2012, the bill was again debated on the floor of the House of Commons where it was
filibuster A filibuster is a parliamentary procedure where one or more members of Parliament or Congress debate over a proposed piece of legislation to delay or entirely prevent a decision being made on the proposal. It is sometimes referred to as "talking a ...
ed out of Parliament by opponents.
Angus MacNeil Angus Brendan MacNeil ( gd|Aonghas Brianan MacNèill) (born 21 July 1970) is the Scottish National Party (SNP) Member of Parliament (MP) for . Background MacNeil was educated at Castlebay Secondary School on the island of Barra and the Nicolson I ...
, MP for , argued that it would adversely affect the population of Northern Scotland, while
Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob William Rees-Mogg (born 24 May 1969) is a British politician serving as Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Council since 2019, and who has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for North East Somerset since 2010. A me ...
, MP for North East Somerset, tried to introduce an amendment to give
Somerset Somerset (; archaically Somersetshire) is a county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east and Devon to the south-west. It is bounded to the north and west b ...

Somerset
its own time zone, 15 minutes behind London, in order to highlight what he saw as the absurdities of the bill. With all its allocated time used up, the bill could proceed no further through Parliament.


European reform from 2021

In 2018, after conducting a public survey, the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the executive branch of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU. Commissioners swear an oath at t ...

European Commission
proposed to put an end to seasonal clock changes in the European Union with effect from 2019. The
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legislation, commonly on the proposal of the Europea ...
supported this proposal; however, , the proposal is still awaiting approval from the Council of the European Union, without which it will not come into force. If the proposal is ultimately approved, implementation will be deferred. Each member state will choose whether to remain on its current summer time, in which case the last transition would be on the last Sunday of March in the year of implementation, or its current winter time, which would take permanent effect from the last Sunday of October. Although the United Kingdom left the EU before any new
directive Directive may refer to: * Directive (European Union), a legislative act of the European Union * Directive (programming), a computer language construct that specifies how a compiler should process input * "Directive" (poem), a poem by Robert Frost * ...
became effective, EU rules continued to apply during the
transition period The Brexit withdrawal agreement, officially titled "Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community", is a treaty between the European Un ...
. Thereafter, the UK can choose to make its own arrangements. If the UK were thus to continue observing summer and winter time,
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga|Tuaisceart Éireann ; Ulster-Scots: ') is variously described as a country, province, or region which is part of the United Kingdom. Located in the northeast of the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland shares a border to ...

Northern Ireland
would have a one-hour time difference for half the year either with the or with the rest of the UK. , the UK Government had "no plans" to end daylight saving. In July 2019, the House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee launched a new inquiry into the implications for the UK of the European changes, to "explore what preparations the Government needs to make and what factors should inform the UK's response."


See also

*
Daylight saving time by country Daylight saving time (DST), also known as summer time, is the practice of advancing clocks during part of the year, typically by one hour around spring and summer, so that daylight ends at a later time of the day. , DST is observed in most of Europ ...
* Lighting-up time *
Time in the Republic of Ireland Ireland uses Irish Standard Time (IST, UTC+01:00; ga|Am Caighdeánach Éireannach) in the summer months and Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+00:00; ''Meán-Am Greenwich'') in the winter period. (Roughly half of the state is in the 7.5°W to 22.5°W se ...
*
Western European Summer Time Western European Summer Time (WEST, UTC+01:00) is a summer daylight saving time scheme, 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and Coordinated Universal Time. It is used in: * the Canary Islands * Portugal (including Madeira but not the Azores) * the ...


References


Further reading

* {{cite news |date=30 October 2011 |title=Britain may reconsider a switch in time zone |url=http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/20111030_Britain_may_reconsider_a_switch_in_time_zone.html |work= Philly.com |agency=
Associated Press The Associated Press (AP) is an American non-profit news agency headquartered in New York City. Founded in 1846, it operates as a cooperative, unincorporated association. Its members are U.S. newspapers and broadcasters. AP news reports that it di ...
|archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20111101015037/http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/20111030_Britain_may_reconsider_a_switch_in_time_zone.html |archive-date=1 November 2011 |access-date=31 October 2011


External links


"Archive of Summer Time Dates"
National Physical Laboratory Category:1916 introductions