British Summer Time

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Image by Richard Croft
British Summer Time (BST) starts every year in the Spring, and ends every year in the Autumn (or the Fall as our American cousins call it), when the UK reverts to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Reasons for British Summer Time

The UK switches to British Summer Time so there is more daylight in the evening during the warm summer months, with the consequence that there are darker mornings. Clocks are set forward by one hour in the Spring, and set back by one hour in the Autumn.

BST leads to a beneficial reduction in power usage due to the lighter evenings, and, for the many people who work or are in education in the daytime, an increase in leisure time whilst there is still daylight. Significantly, the drop in traffic fatalities in the lighter evenings is greater than the increased number in the darker mornings.

When does BST start and finish?

Every year, the UK switches from GMT to BST by setting clocks forward by one hour at 01:00 GMT on the last Sunday in March. The UK switches back from BST to GMT by setting clocks back by one hour at 02:00 BST (01:00 GMT) on the last Sunday in October.
Since 2002, all countries in the European Union (EU) have started and ended their Daylight Saving Time (DST) on the same dates. Prior to that year, there was much confusion because different countries in the EU started and ended DST on different dates. Unfortunately, other countries in the world, including the USA, still start and end DST on different dates to the UK.

Spring forward, Fall back

People in the USA use the expression "Spring forward, Fall back" to help them remember which way the clocks are changed. Unfortunately, the UK equivalent, "Spring forward, Autumn back", doesn't work half as well.

British Summer Time 2012

Start: March 25 2012
End: October 28 2012

British Summer Time 2013

Start: March 31 2013
End: October 27 2013

British Summer Time 2014

Start: March 30 2014
End: October 26 2014

British Summer Time 2015

Start: March 29 2015
End: October 25 2015