British Summer Time (BST), known in Ireland as Irish Summer Time (IST), is the daylight saving time in effect in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October each year. In both cases, the change takes place at 01:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
BST is the same as Central European Time (CET): one hour in advance of GMT, i.e. UTC+1. Most countries which use CET in winter move to Central European Summer Time UTC+2 in summer.
The start and end dates of British Summer Time and European Summer Time are somewhat asymmetrical in terms of daylight hours; for example the time of year with a similar amount of daylight to late October is mid-February, well before the start of BST. The asymmetry refects temperature more than the length of daylight.
Starting in 1916, the dates for the beginning and end of BST each year were mandated by the British Parliament. In February 2002, the Summer Time Order 2002 permanently changed the dates and times to match European rules for moving to and from daylight saving time. The European compromise was closer to previous British practice than to the practice elsewhere in Europe.
Each year a national debate rages just before the time when time is to revert back to GMT in October. In 2004, an interesting contribution has been made by English MP Nigel Beard, who has tabled a Private Members bill in the House of Commons that England and Wales should be able to determine their own time independently of Scotland and Northern Ireland. This bill, if passed into law, would see the United Kingdom with potentially two different timezones for the first time in history.
During World War II, Britain retained the hour's advance on GMT at the beginning of the winter of 1940 and continued to advance the clocks by an extra hour during the summers until the end of the summer of 1944. During these summers Britain was thus 2 hours ahead of GMT and operating on British Double Summer Time (BDST). The clocks were not advanced for the summer of 1945 and were reverted back to GMT at the end of the summer of 1945. In 1947 the clocks were advanced by one hour twice during the spring and put back twice during the autumn so that Britain was on BDST during the height of the summer.
Safety campaigners, including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), have made recommendations that British Summer Time be maintained over the winter months, and that a "double summertime" be applied to the current British Summer Time period, making the UK two hours ahead of GMT during summer. ROSPA suggest that this would reduce the number of accidents that occur over this period as a result of the evenings being lighter, as was shown when the British Standard Time scheme was trialled between 1968 and 1971, when Britain remained on UTC+1 all year. ROSPA have called for the two year trial to be repeated with modern evaluation methods. This proposal is, however, opposed by farmers and other outdoor workers, and many residents of Scotland, since it would mean that in winter dawn would be delayed until 10 a.m. or later in northern Britain.
Start and End Dates of British Summer Time
Last updated: 05-06-2005 11:26:30
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04