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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

An analysis of clock change policy in the United Kingdom

As the 21st century progresses, concerns about energy supply security, hydrocarbon fuel scarcity and climate change are becoming ever greater.  As energy becomes an increasingly important issue, policies that promote energy efficiency need to be researched and implemented.  Old policies also need to be re-examined and evaluated to ensure that they are being implemented optimally.

The United Kingdom first implemented Daylight Saving Time in 1916 as an energy saving policy during the wartime period.  Currently the United Kingdom’s time zone is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) from November to March and GMT+1 from April to October.  The government’s position is that this time regime is optimal.

There have been several failed proposals in parliament to change the UK’s time zontime regime e to either GMT+1 all year or to GMT+1 in winter and GMT+2 in summer.  A 3-year experiment was carried out from 1968 to 1971,  during which kept the United Kingdom on GMT+1 was kept all year, however, however this was abandoned by a free vote in the House of Commons.

National The National Grid Company has provided 30-minute national eelectricity demand data for the years 2001-2006.  This data has beenis analyzed in this report to assess the impact of the spring and autumn clock changes on overall and peak electricity demand.  A regression analysis is also performed on this data to assess electricity consumption trends on GMT compared to GMT+1, in order to draw some conclusions on the effectiveness of the United Kingdom’s current clock change policy in achieving real energy savings.

The effects of a change in time regime on road accidents and other areas is are also examined.

The results and conclusions presented in this report show that the current time regime is not optimal and a change of policy would result in electricity and road accident savings.The conclusion will contain recommendations on the optimal time zone and clock change policy for the United Kingdom.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.