MOVING clocks back in the autumn and forward in the spring could become a thing of the past.
The European Commission (EC), which suggests laws for EU member states, has proposed ending the one-hour time changes twice a year. This comes after a major survey that found most people in Europe are against the clock shift s. The questionnaire was filled in by 4.6 million people from all 28 member states of the EU – the highest number of responses ever received in any EC survey.
Some 84% of people want to stop changing clocks backwards and forwards. At the moment, clocks are shifted an hour forward on the last Sunday in March and back an hour on the last Sunday in October.
The only European countries that operate on Greenwich Mean Time (in winter) and British Summer Time (BST, or GMT+1) are the UK, Ireland and Portugal. Most of the continent (17 countries) has Central European Time, which is an hour ahead of GMT, while eight countries, including Greece, Finland and Romania, have Eastern European Time, which is two hours ahead of GMT.
The EU made the clock change a rule in all member states in 1996, because they thought it would save energy. They now say the evidence for this is not strong. In the UK, we adopted Daylight Saving Time in 1916, at the height of the First World War, in order to conserve coal.
There has long been a debate about whether we should adopt the same time zone as the rest of the continent. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that millions of people “believe that in future, summertime should be year-round, and that’s what will happen”.
If the rule change is supported by the 28 national governments and European Parliament, individual member states will be free to keep or scrap the time changes.