Clocks Change 2019: EU votes to SCRAP daylight saving time – why? Is this the last BST?

The clocks go forward tonight at 1am meaning we will move from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to British Summer Time (BST) in the UK. Britain has formally moved its clock back and forward by one hour since 1916 when it was passed into law by Parliament. This could now all change after the European Parliament this week voted in support of a proposal to scrap the twice-yearly clock change. MEPs backed each EU member state adopting either a permanent summer time, also known as daylight saving time, or winter time (standard time) by 2021.

The European Commission drafted the idea last year following a public consultation which saw 84 percent of the 28 EU states wanting to scrap clock changes.

Following the consultation, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “We carried out a survey, millions responded and believe that in future, summertime should be year-round, and that’s what will happen.”

He also stated “there is no applause when EU law dictates that Europeans have to change the clocks twice a year.

“Clock-changing must stop. Member states should themselves decide whether their citizens live in summer or winter time.”

Why did the EU back the change?

The European Commission said scientific studies show ”the effect on the human biorhythm may be more severe than previously thought” under the time changes.

However, individual governments will have the final say on whether they wish to adopt the legislation or not.

Countries formally adopting the move to make summertime permanent must change their clocks for the final time on the last Sunday in March 2021.

EU nations who want to permanently stay in winter time, or standard time, must make their final clock change on the last Sunday of October 2021.

The UK should have left the European Union by then but will have the choice to make its own decision either way.

At present, some campaigners say staying under BST all year round would reduce the number of traffic accidents.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) says pedestrian deaths rise every autumn when the clocks go back.

Citing Department of Transport figures, the campaign group says pedestrian deaths rose from 37 in September to 46 in October, 63 in November, and 50 in December in 2017.

Errol Taylor, RoSPA’s chief executive, now wants the UK to adopt a permanent BST in light of the European Parliament vote.

He said: “Clock changes were first introduced in 1916 to reflect the needs of a nation at war. However, our priority now should be the prevention of road accidents that cause serious injury and death.

“We know that the clock change kills people. During the working week, casualty rates peak at 8am and 10am and 3pm and 7pm, with the afternoon peak being higher.

“Road casualty rates increase with the arrival of darker evenings and worsening weather conditions.”

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