Clocks go back: Why are the clocks still going back despite vote to scrap daylight saving time?

It’s that time of year again, when your mother sends the “don’t forget about the clocks going back” reminder text and revellers ask if they get an extra hour in the bar.

espite the European Parliament voting in favour of removing daylight saving time permanently after spring 2021, we will still be changing the clocks this weekend.

Here’s everything you need to know.

When do they change?

The clocks will go back an hour at 2am on Sunday, October 30.

Every year, the clocks change on the last weekend in March and October.

They went forward an hour on March 27 and will go forward again in March next year.

Why are seasonal time changes still happening after the vote to scrap them?

In 2019, the European Parliament voted to remove daylight energy saving time permanently. The initial plan was to stop seasonal time changes after spring 2021. However, this was put on ice due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune has advocated in favour of “keeping summertime all year round”, but told last year that time is unlikely to stand still in the short-term. She said the Commission has not shown huge interest in pushing the idea forward.

“I’m disappointed that the plan has been paused,” she said. “I was keen for the change to go ahead as I believe there is a demand to change the process of clock changing and keep summertime all year round.”

The vote did not have any legal effect and the European Commission previously said “the ball is now in the Member States’ court as it is up to them to find a common position in Council”.

The Department of Justice had previously outlined concerns about having two different time zones on the island of Ireland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

While a poll conducted by Amárach Research found two-thirds of Irish people supported getting rid of seasonal time changes, 82pc of respondents were not in favour of having two different time zones in the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Why do the clocks go back?

Following summer solstice on June 21, the days gradually become shorter.

By turning the clocks back an hour during autumn, this provides people with more sunlight in the morning. Turning the clocks forward in the spring brings lighter evenings, or as we say in Ireland, “the grand ould stretch”.

How long has this been happening?

The idea of British Summer Time (BST) was first proposed in the UK in 1907 by William Willett, who happens to be the great-great-grandfather of Coldplay singer Chris Martin. He felt that valuable daylight was being wasted in the mornings during the summer months because people were still in bed.

He published a pamphlet called The Waste of Daylight, in which he outlined his plans to change the time of the nation’s clocks. But when he died in 1915 the government still hadn’t backed BST.

It wasn’t until a year later, in May 1916, that Britain passed the Summer Time Act and started changing its clocks twice a year. Ireland followed suit.

What are the downsides of clocks going back?

While many enjoy the extra hour in bed, there are some negatives.

International evidence indicates that break-ins could rise by as much as 20pc over the coming months when daylight hours are at their lowest level.

Critics have also said that changing the clocks is economically and socially disruptive, therefore cancelling out any benefits.

Those in favour of abolishing the time switch said there were health benefits of doing away with the biannual time shift, energy savings to be made, and more time would be created for evening leisure activities.

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