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British Summer Time Has Begun

Monday 28th March 2011

Like most countries in Europe, the UK observes daylight saving time. British Summer Time (BST) is where the time is shifted forward by 1 hour, which is officially 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. British summer time starts on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October at 1.00 am, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). And in the Autumn the opposite occurs. After the summer months, the time is shifted back by 1 hour to Western European Time (WET) or (GMT).

This change to the clocks has only been happening since 1916 when a man called William Willett noticed that the daylight in the summer months was being wasted while people slept. If the clocks changed twice a year to enable a longer period of daylight in the afternoon it would allow extra daylight time for work, school and general life.

Other countries around the world observe a similar system, for example countries in the European Union change their clocks on the last Sundays of March and October, North America and most of Canada, change their clocks on the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November. However Egypt, Namibia and Tunisia are the only African countries who observe daylight saving and New Zealand and parts of Australia are the only countries in Oceania that change their clocks too.

There is some debate about whether the UK should keep clocks on BST time all year round however several campaigns by MPs in the past have been unsuccessful. For the first time this year Russia has moved their clocks forward but won’t be moving them back again in the Autumn. President Dmitry Medvedev has abolishing Russian Winter time, saying that the twice yearly adjustment was "associated with stress and illness". Mr Medvedev also said that an extra hour of sunlight in the afternoon during thelong winters would also benefit business and reduce crime.

 

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