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Clocks changing Greenwich Mean Time

Published: 19/10/2020

In autumn 2020 the clocks will go back on 25 October at 2am

On the last Sunday of October the clocks 'fall back': they go back by one hour.
It may feel like a long time since the blue skies of summer, but this marks the end of British Summer Time (BST). It also means an extra hour in bed.

Why do the clocks change?
The clocks go back to revert to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) which was in place before British Summer Time started in March.
The reason the clocks go forward and back is because of a campaign at the beginning of the 20th century, which successfully argued in favour of changing the clocks during the summer months to avoid wasting time in the morning.
Today people argue that changing the clocks will be good for:
  • reducing energy consumption for environmental reasons
  • having longer evenings to support leisure and tourism
  • encouraging people to exercise more outdoors
  • reducing road accidents.
Aside from the obvious inconvenience of changing the clocks twice a year, opponents have presented different arguments against daylight saving time, from safety concerns about darker mornings to farmers expressing concern about the effect of changing routines for livestock.
Others argue that changing the clocks is now redundant given that many of us spend most of our time in well-lit homes, shops and offices, where the amount of daylight makes little difference to our lives.
Similarly, the economic and environmental advantages can vary: for some warmer regions, it’s thought that longer evenings may actually increase energy consumption as people use air-conditioning units for more hours.
It’s an ongoing debate that strongly depends on people’s geographical location, occupation and lifestyle.