Clocks change: When do they go forward and what is BST?

28 March 2020, 11:17

On March 29th at two o'clock in the evening the hand is moved forward one hour
On March 29th at two o'clock in the evening the hand is moved forward one hour. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

The clocks are going forward this weekend as Britain changes from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to British Summer Time (BST) - but why does this happen?

Britain is currently in lockdown due to coronavirus which means the vast majority of people will be unable to see any benefit from the change.

Although it happens every year, this year's change to BST could be the hardest to remember exactly why it happens.

When do the clocks change?

The clocks go forward at 1am on the final Sunday of March, which means this year it is March 29 and the UK will be on BST.

This is also known as 'Daylight Saving Time' (DST).

In a bid to minimise disruption to businesses and schools, it takes place on the weekend.

However, losing an hour of the day can take its toll and has been linked to increased numbers of heart attacks and suicides.

When did BST start?

One of the biggest campaigners in the UK for the change was golfer William Willet.

He wanted them changed so he could play longer into the evenings. He was also the great-great-grandfather of Coldplay's Chris Martin whose hits includes Clocks.

Despite lobbying to Parliament it wasn't accepted into law until the Summer Time Act 1916. The idea was to try and save on energy costs during the war - which was originally a German idea.

Do I have to change the time on anything?

Most devices and phones will update automatically but analogue clocks will need adjusting,

In fact, GMB Union said coronavirus will prevent workers in Wakefield from adjusting the clocks due to the lockdown.

They will not be changed for some months, the Union added.

When does it end?

We can enjoy an extra hour's sleep when the clocks go back on Sunday, October 25.

Are the EU scrapping it?

The European parliament voted to scrap clock changing on an EU level.

It is left up to national governments to decide which may lead to a time split between Northern and the Republic of Ireland.

Member states will be able to choose whether to remain on 'permanent summer' or 'permanent winter' time.

Those that opt for permanent summer time will change their clocks for the last time on Sunday in March 2021 whereas those who opt for winter will change theirs on the last Sunday of October 2021.