Thursday, February 23, 2006

Kinnock backs metric road signs

Daily Mail
Thursday 23rd February 06

Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock has thrown his weight behind a report which says Britain could go metric with its road signs within five years.

Lord Kinnock says in an introduction to the report by the UK Metric Association (UKMA) that the continued use of miles in Britain was the "most obvious example of the muddle of measurement units" in the country.

The report says there would be many benefits from converting road signs to show kilometres, metres and km/h (kilometres per hour).

These would include drivers getting consistent information, easier calculation of fuel consumption and speed limits more finely tuned to local road conditions, it says.

But the AA said a changeover would take far longer than five years and the Department of Transport said it had no plans to convert.

Lord Kinnock says in the report: "Our imperial road signs are perhaps the most obvious example of the muddle of measurement units in the United Kingdom.

"They contradict the image - and the reality - of our country as a modern, multicultural, dynamic place where the past is valued and respected and the future is approached with creativity and confidence.

"If the recommendations of this report are followed, Britain can join the modern metric world - and do so by the time that the all-metric Olympic Games open in London in 2012."

In its report, the UKMA calls on the Government to name an early date for making the change, which it says can be done economically and safely.

The UKMA says that the conversion of road signs was originally intended to be part of metrication when it started in 1965 and should have been completed by 1973. However, it was put on hold in 1970 and then never reinstated.

The Association argues that this has left a system where most of Britain is officially metric leaving road signs as a "confusing" exception.

It concludes that, if spread over five years, the cost of the changeover would represent a mere 0.27 per cent of annual roads expenditure.

UKMA chairman Robin Paice said: "The Irish have shown how easily, safely, and economically it can be done. The British Government should just get on with it."

But the AA Motoring Trust said a "key flaw" in any planned conversion lay in the fact that speedometers still mainly measure miles per hour.

Paul Watters, head of roads and transport policy at the Trust, said: "A move to make UK road signs metric will take far longer than five years.

"Any precipitous changeover will create confusion, danger and anger, particularly where misunderstanding leads to prosecution for road traffic offences, such as speeding."

The Trust said one solution would be for metric and imperial measurements to run side-by-side for a number years until the public begins to "recognise and understand" both types.

But a spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said it had "absolutely no plans" to change the signs. "It would cost several millions of pounds and would be a waste of taxpayers' money," she said.


Anonymous said...

"Lord Kinnock"

Ha ha ha!

Do these jerks really think that giving themselves a title actually fools anyone at all?

Anonymous said...

"These [benefits of metrication] would include drivers getting consistent information, easier calculation of fuel consumption and speed limits more finely tuned to local road conditions, it says."

The changeover is likely to lead to confusion and inconsistent information.

The stuff about fuel comsumption, is absolute drivel, it is all calculated by computer, no one except the an geek of the first water calculates this stuff with a pen and paper.

"Speedlimits more finely tuned", so they want a lower speed limit than thirty miles per hour, why not 29 miles per hour? Why isn't that fine tuning enough?

"Britain can join the modern metric world"

More drivel from a d******d. Lets not forget the old... we mustn't miss the train [of the Euro]. Do we really care if there is a "two speed Europe"?

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