When do clocks go back in 2020 - and will Brexit affect future time changes?

Time will soon be changing on clocks across the area, including the clock tower on Ipswich Town Hall

Time will soon be changing on clocks across the area, including the clock tower on Ipswich Town Hall. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

As autumn arrives, it will soon be time to put the clocks back again, for households in Suffolk and across the UK.


But why do we put clocks back each year - and will we go on doing it after the Brexit transition period finishes at the end of 2020?

In the UK, clocks go back one hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October, which this year will be October 25.

While the good news is that we should enjoy an extra hour in bed, the bad news is that this month’s time change will herald the start of dark evenings.

After the clocks change, we will be on Greenwich Mean Time until the last Sunday in March next year. That’s when we will all have to turn the clocks forward again for the start of British Summer Time.

With modern digital devices, we don’t have to do as much actual turning back of clocks as in years gone by.

MORE: How to get through the autumn bluesMost smart devices, ranging from phones to laptops, tablets and television sets, should now update themselves in order to show the correct time.

But there are still some timers that will need to be adjusted manually, which are likely to include the clock settings on microwaves and cars.

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So why do we go through the time change twice a year? The aim is to save energy by avoiding waste of daylight in the morning during summer.

British Summer Time, also known by some as “daylight saving time”, was introduced in 1916, following a suggestion by campaigner William Willett, and clocks have since changed annually in the UK.

In 2019, the European Parliament voted to stop annual clock changes across the EU from 2021 onwards. The decision followed claims that the time changes affect sleep patterns, with a negative effect on health.

The vote meant EU countries would have to decide whether they preferred to stick with permanent summer or winter time.

Following the vote, the UK government indicated that, even if the changes go ahead, it would stick to the current system following Brexit.

However, there is still speculation that, if countries in the EU do go ahead and stop the annual clock changes, the UK may decide to do the same.