Clocks go forward this weekend

Date published: 29 March 2024

Don’t forget to set your clocks forward by one hour this Sunday 31 March.

The change will officially take place at 1.00am so it is advised that you change your clocks before going to bed.

Bringing the clocks forward by an hour marks the start of British Summer Time, meaning extra light during the day and longer evenings.

In the UK, the clocks go forward one hour at 1am on the last Sunday in March, marking the beginning of Daylight Saving Time, also known as British Summer Time, and back one hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October, returning to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Clocks will go back again on Sunday 27 October 2024.

Daylight Saving Time was introduced in the UK with the passing of the Summer Time Act on 17 May 1916. The clocks were altered the following Sunday, 21 May 1916, returning to GMT on 1 October 1916.

Time shifting was first proposed by William Willett in 1907. He published a pamphlet called The Waste of Daylight, outlining plans to encourage people out of bed earlier in summer by changing the time on the nation’s clocks.

He spent the rest of his life fighting to get acceptance of his time-shifting scheme.

He died in 1915 with the Government still refusing to back British Summer Time, but the following year, Germany introduced the system. Britain followed in May 1916, and we have been 'changing the clocks' ever since.

The clocks have also been altered by more than the usual hour forwards and backwards.

Britain adopted British Double Summer Time during World War Two in 1941, which saw clocks being put forward two hours ahead of GMT. The clocks were turned back to GMT at the end of summer 1945, but – due to severe fuel shortages through the previous harsh winter – returned to British Double Summer Time for the summer of 1947.

A three-year experiment between 1968 and 1971 saw Britain trial British Standard Time (GMT +1) all year round, putting the clocks forward as usual by one hour in March 1968, and not putting them back until October 1971.

Proponents generally argue that it saves energy, promotes outdoor leisure activity in the evening, and is therefore good for physical and psychological health, reduces traffic accidents, reduces crime, or is good for business.

Opponents argue that actual energy savings are inconclusive, that it can disrupt morning activities, and that the act of changing clocks twice a year is economically and socially disruptive and cancels out any benefit.

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