Why do the clocks change, will daylight saving time ever be scrapped and why do we use GMT?

The Sun 1 month ago

TWICE a year, the clocks change either an hour forward or an hour back.

But why do we have Daylight saving time, when do we put our clocks forward and back, and will we ever drop the strange tradition?

We wind our watches forward in spring and back in autumn

Why do the clocks change?

We change our clocks to make better use of the daylight.

On the last Sunday in March, clocks in the UK go forward an hour so that there’s more daylight in the evenings.

But the clocks go back in October, so there’s more daylight in the mornings and less in the evenings during winter.

Clocks will revert to Greenwich Mean Time when they go back at 2am on Sunday, October 27, 2019.

In 2020 the clocks are going forward by an hour at 2am on Sunday, March 29, and heralds British Summer Time.

Clocks change from Greenwich Mean Time to British Summer Time and back

Will we stop changing them back and forward?

On March 27, 2019, the European parliament voted to scrap the twice-yearly custom of changing the clocks.

This means clocks will no longer move forward an hour at the end of March and back again in October each year.

The century-old practice of daylight saving time would come to an end by 2021.

Countries would be able to decide whether to stay on “permanent winter” or “permanent summer”.

If they choose summer then clocks would move forward for the last time on the last Sunday in March 2021.

If they opt for winter, the final clock change would take place on the last Sunday in October 2021.

Britain would have to follow this rule if it fails to leave the EU or there is a soft or delayed Brexit.

This means the UK would have to choose whether to be permanently on GMT or BST.

If the UK fully leaves the EU then they could choose to continue with daylight saving, but this would result in Northern Ireland being out of sync with the Republic of Ireland for half the year.

Why do we use GMT?

On October 22, 1884, the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, London, was announced as the site of the Universal Time meridian of longitude.

This meant Greenwich Mean Time became an international standard time reference point.

All the world’s time zones are calculated from this point and all terrestrial longitudes.

GMT remains constant throughout the year.

In the winter, the UK uses GMT for its local time, but in March, local time is moved forward an hour to British Summer Time (BST).


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