British summer time ends as clocks go back - for the last time?

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PA



British Summer Time 2011 officially ends at 2am tonight, when the clocks go back for what could be the last time.

If a new Daylight Saving Bill that has received ministerial backing goes ahead it could bring the UK into line with Central European Time (CET) for a trial period of three years.

It would see British Summer Time (BST) maintained during the winter months and 'double summertime' applied during summer months, putting the UK one hour ahead of GMT during winter and two hours ahead during summer.

In other words, clocks would move forward by an hour from GMT in the winter and a further hour in the summer, to match Central European Time, meaning lighter nights but darker mornings.

But only if the Scots agree.

Any 'clear opposition' from devolved authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would see the plans dropped.

Moving to CET would mean lighter winter evenings, and an extra 235 hours of daylight a year, which supporters claim would cut road deaths, boost tourism and reduce energy use. But any change is likely to face opposition from many in Scotland who do not relish the prospect of an extra hour of darkness in the morning, where dawn would not break until about 9am.

Supporters suggest the move could see domestic tourism boosted by an extra £2.5 – £5.5 billion annually, creating 60 – 80,000 new jobs in the leisure and tourism sector in the process.

What's more, says the Telegraph, the nation's health and wellbeing will be improved by increased opportunities for outdoor leisure, sport and recreation after school or work.

Increasing energy costs means everyone is concerned about their energy bills ahead of the harsh British winter, and this proposal could reduce them by up to 5% and cut C02 emissions by nearly 450,000 tonnes a year.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: 'Discussions are under way across Whitehall and with the devolved authorities but that's the key - you can only do this if there is real national consensus and pressure between all the nations of our United Kingdom.'

And, admittedly, the thought of those long winter nights isn't a particularly enticing one. Fancy escaping the dreary, dark evenings? Check out some of these brilliant getaways:

Editor's picks: Romantic winter city breaks

Editor's picks: Romantic winter city breaks