Daylight saving time: When does British Summer Time start?

Daylight saving time: Why do the clocks go forward?

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Daylight Saving Time, or BST, is the practice of advancing clocks during the summer months by one hour in an effort to extend the daylight throughout the day. BST means the clocks go forward by one hour. Typically regions with summer time adjust clocks forward one hour close to the start of spring and then bring them back again in the autumn. In the UK, the maximum 16 hours and 38 minutes of sunlight occurs on the longest day in June, known as the Summer Solstice, and cuts down to just seven hours and 49 minutes six months later in December, known as the Winter Solstice.

When does British Summer Time start?

This year, British Summer Time (BST) will begin on Sunday, March 28, at exactly 1am.

BST will then be around until Sunday, October 31, when the clocks go back one hour, and we’ll revert back to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Studies have shown changing the clocks back and forth leads to a general sense of wellbeing, cognition and fewer accidents on the roads.

The UK isn’t the only country to adopt Daylight Saving Time in the world.

EU countries which synchronise their Daylight Saving Time include:

  • France
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Poland
  • Norway
  • Switzerland

All US states have adopted the clock-changing practice, except:

  • Arizona
  • Hawaii
  • Puerto Rico
  • The Virgin Islands
  • American Samoa
  • Guam
  • The Northern Mariana Island

A few countries don’t use Daylight Saving Time at all, and these are:

  • Russia
  • Iceland
  • Georgia
  • Armenia
  • Belarus

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Are we getting rid of Daylight Saving Time?

In March 2019, the European Parliament backed a proposal to get rid of the clock-changing tradition in 2021.

While this is undoubtedly good news for some, it raised concerns of the implementation of a time-zone border between the Republic and Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

But the final switch hasn’t been confirmed by the European Union and we’re well into 2021.

That means this year, business as usual, and the clocks will continue to go forward and back as planned in March and October.

Those in favour of getting rid of Daylight Saving Time say it’s not clear if any energy savings are made, while there are also potential risks to health.

Critics claim the darker mornings are dangerous for children walking to school and the energy-saving argument may be invalid if people switch on fans and air-conditioning units during the warmer days.

But since the UK is generally quite a chilly country – even during the summer – this isn’t likely to bother Brits.

In 2011, Tory MP Rebecca Harris floated a bill calling for year-round daylight savings, but it failed to get through Parliament.

A YouGov poll in the same year found that 53 percent of Brits supported moving clocks forward an hour permanently, while 32 percent were opposed to the change.

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