Daylight Saving Time, or DST, is still used in many parts of the world including of course, the UK. When DST starts, on the last Sunday in March, the clocks are moved forward one hour. This happens at 1.59 am, with the time jumping ahead one hour to 3 am.
In Britain, this period is known as British Summer Time, although it unfortunately has no bearing on the weather
At the end of the period of Daylight Saving Time, the clocks go back one hour. This time shift takes place at 1.00 am on the morning of the last Sunday in October.
The effect of this is to provide evenings with more daylight, while mornings have less. At the time the practice was introduced in 1916, the main aim was to reduce the increased use of energy for lighting purposes as the shorter days set in.
For those who enjoy the outdoor life, the clocks going back in October can compound the effect the shorter days have on the abilities for getting out and about in the later portion of the day. So what are the alternatives to the current system?
Alternatives to Daylight Savings
Over the years a number of alternatives to the current system have been mooted and even trialled. From 1968 to 1971, the UK and Ireland experimented with year round British Summer Time, keeping the clocks an hour ahead of GMT all year.
However, the trial was ended due to the unpopularity of the long, dark mornings, especially in the northern parts of the country. Despite the unpopularity of the trial at the time, there are still attempts to implement this alternative, with the Daylight Saving Bill of 2010-12 still under consideration.
One of the proposed benefits of remaining on GMT+1 all year round was the reduction in road traffic accidents in the evening, which while being reported as having a positive effect, was offset by an increase in accidents in the morning, while the introduction of drink-driving legislation skewing the data.
British Double Summer Time
Another alternative to Daylight Saving Time is British Double Summer Time (BDST). This system was actually used during the Second World War and started in 1940, when the clocks were not put back in October, at the end of Summer Time.
However, the following year, the clocks were put forward in March as usual. This put the time two hours ahead of GMT during the summer, and one hour head during the rest of the year. This period of double summer time lasted until the end of the summer in 1945.
The two main advantages of adopting Single/Double Summer Time are that it would reduce the number of traffic accidents due to the later evenings, while also reducing energy usage to help protect the environment.
GMT all Year Round
A third alternative has also been proposed which would see the end of time changes, with Britain using GMT all round. To still enjoy the benefits of DST, the supporters of this alternative recommend the seasonal changes in business and school times. Due to the practicalities of this, adopting GMT all year round seems the least favoured option.
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