Monday, February 20, 2006

Road Signs to Go Metric in 5 years?

More hogwash from the UK Metrication? You decide and please leave some comments on this one. My commentary is in red.

The UKMA just cannot help trying to force their minority agenda down everyone's throats. They give the impression that they are a powerful, national body.
A question that will hopefully clarify their importance in the general scheme of things:
1. How many members do they have?
Let us hope that a journalists ask that one.

It is also nice to see, however, that favours have been called in from that great stalwart and defender of democracy, Neil Kinnock who gives them a wonderful quote. This is the same Neil Kinnock that bumped into me outside Westminster and said that the Metric Martyrs should never have been prosecuted and that we should be allowed a referendum on our relationship with the EU and that if we wished to leave then so be it. Now he wishes to see enforced metrication of all road signs.

Perhaps Mr. Kinnock would like to consider that if any political party wishes to go to the great expense of metricating all the road signs then they should put it in their next manifesto.

As for the 2012 Olympic Games being all metric ... wonderful. Who wins the most medals? The United States of America. Are they metric? I rest my case.

As for the legal implications and potential for litigation resulting from speedometers showing mph and signs showing km/h ... get real Neil. No education or information programme could be done in 5 years and the costs implications run into billions not millions.

It ain't gonna happen and that is what sticks in the craw of these avid europhiles and metrophiles who wish to see uniformity across the whole of Europe and despise our 'anomolous situation.'

By the way, when it comes to the truth, the behaviour of the UKMA leaves a lot to be desired. More will be revealed in advance of the release of their press release.

23 FEBRUARY 2006

Road signs to go metric in five years?
23 February 2006.

Britain's road signs could go metric within 5 years, according to a new report by the UK Metric Association.
The report shows that there would be many benefits from converting road signs to show kilometres, metres and km/h (kilometres per hour).
It calls on the Government to name an early date for making this change, which could be done economically and safely.
Neil Kinnock (former Labour leader) provides a Foreword to the report and comments:
"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 isapproached with creativity and confidence. If the recommendations of this report are followed, Britain can join the modern metric world - and do so by thetime that the all-metric Olympic Games open in London in 2012."

UKMA's report points out that, when the metrication programme began in1965, ( hardly a 'programme.' It was a written Parliamentary answer in May 1965, buried away in the back of Hansard, where Board of Trade officials, following representions from the FBI (now CBI) stated the Government was giving support to a 'gradual change' to the metric system. I suspect that this is a rather unusual and curious way to announce a change which would have the most profound effect on the life of everyone in the country).
it was originally intended to convert Britain's road signs in 1973.
However, this part of the plan was put on hold in 1970 and then never reinstated. Thus, although most of Britain is officially metric (e.g.price labels, school text books, building plans) our road signs are a major exception (along with the language and understanding of measurement)which forces British people to have to know and use two incompatible systems - metric and imperial - with all the confusion, mistakes, waste and incomprehension that results.
There is no incomprehension arising from the use of imperial signage or speeds on the roads. The only incomprehension would come from introducing a system of measurement that 72% of the population do not understand / are not familiar with. This statement by UKMA is so grossly misleading and reckless that it fails even to take into account of the potential carnage that could result from the misinterpretation of speed limits, especially that on motorways changing from 70 to 100, or on bridge heights solely marked in metric.

Britain is in fact the only advanced country in the world which does not authorise metric speed limit and distance signs. (Perhaps the USA is not an advanced country. I knew we shouldn't have gone to war alongside a backward nation).
Other reasons cited for making the change include:

  • drivers would get consistent information in one, single,easy system
  • They currently have that and there is no confusion. If they drive on the continent they are aware of the metric system and take that into account. Such drivers account for a fraction of the UK s 35m drivers. Vice versa applies to foreign motorists driving here.
  • greater efficiency for surveyors, map-makers, motor manufacturers and contractors
  • compare that questionable efficiency with the massive cost of education and conversion. It pales into insignificance.
  • easier calculation of fuel consumption
  • how many motorists work out and comprehend their fuel consumption in litres / km.? Even with petrol sales in litres everyone still talks in miles per gallon when relating to fuel consumption.
  • it could stimulate a review of whether current speed limits are safe
  • Are you honestly saying that this is not being discussed at the moment with the great speed camera debate?
  • speed limits more finely tuned to local road conditions
  • pardon? Are they currently just plucked from a tree? Perlease!
  • drivers visiting the UK could drive more safely
  • because they currently drive recklessly of course as all statistical analysis, of which there is none proves. What absolute bollocks and this is absolute desperation by UKMA. Let us hope that the press and media are not so gullible that they are taken in by this absolute hogwash. Please guys, ask Mr. Paice some difficult questions.
  • signposting would be compatible with Ordnance Survey maps.
  • But it would not be compatible with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 which is the legislative authority or the Highway Code.

Drawing on the experience of Australia in the 1970s and the Irish Republic last year, the report outlines principles for carrying out the conversion. It shows that fears about road safety are unfounded and calculates that, if spread over 5 years, the cost of the changeover would represent a mere 0.27% of annual roads expenditure.

The report concludes with a practical, costed 5-year plan.The report's authors recognise that there is some opposition (perhaps the understatement of the century) to completing the 41 year old metrication project, but they say that if the Government were to act decisively, they could well gain credit for persevering withits modernisation programme in the face of uninformed and irrational opposition. (I think that that should read well-informed, rational and totally honest as opposed to decetful, slippery duplicitous and illogicalc agenda of the UKMA)

UKMA Chairman, Robin Paice, commented: "Most senior politicians know perfectly well that the current position is unsustainable and that it would be in the national interest to complete the changeover to the metric system - including putting metres and kilometres on road signs - as soon as possible. The Irish have shown how easily, safely, and economically it can be done. The British Government should just get on with it."

No Mr. Paice. The Government should not 'just get on with it. They should propose it in a party political manifesto and clearly indicate their intentions. Then, if they are elected, they can begin the massive legislative programme that would be required which would require the absolute consent of Parliament ... something which has NEVER been done with any of the metrication agenda. I wonder why?

As for the Irish situation ... a click here and here will reveal how a small country with very few signs to be changed has made a mess. As somewhat of an expert now in uncovering problems that some UK local authorities are having with traffic signs and traffic orders then what you propose will undoubtedly descend into an absolute nightmare for everyone concerned.


Notes for editors:

(a) The UK Metric Association (UKMA) is an independent, non-party political, single issue pressure group which advocates the full adoption of the international metric system for all official, trade, legal, contractual and other purposes in the United Kingdom as soon as practicable. UKMA is financed entirely by membership subscriptions and personal donations.

(b) The UK has a "derogation" (opt out) from the EU Directive whichallows the Government to fix its own date for converting road signs. There has been no pressure from the Commission to fix this date, which is thus a matter for the British Government and Parliament to decide. However, Mr. Paice and the UKMA denied lobbying the European Commission. Read here how Mr. Paice has been rather economical with the truth. Some would say he has told a big, fat lie.

(c) Free electronic copies of the complete report and a range ofphotographs are available to bona fide journalists by That's us ruled out then!

(d) From 01:00 on 23 February, a "press kit" will be available at This will include:

 downloadable photos

 downloadable versions of the Contents, Executive Summary, and Foreword by Neil Kinnock

(e) Further extensive background information can be found on UKMA'swebsite at

Specific items of interest are:

 Comparison between metrication in Britain and Australia

 Comparison between Britain's decimal currency and metric conversions

 Britain's current road signage mess and legislation

The following are available for interview or comment:

For technical questions relating to the report:

* Robin Paice (Chairman) on 01301 702 317 or 07745 89 49 26 for interviews in Glasgow or by telephone (or e-mail )

For comment on metrication generally:

* Lord Kinnock of Bedwellty on 020 7219 3000 (House of Lords switchboard))

* Lord Howe of Aberavon on 020 7219 8709 (direct line to PA)

* Roz Denny (Press Officer) on 020 7736 5383 or 0777 039 1581 for interviews in London or by telephone

For a proper balance and a view from the real world where the vast majority of the British population live contact Neil Herron on 0191 565 7143 or 07776 202045


Raw Carrot said...

Ok, so I didn't read the whole post, but if they did put the whole road sign thing into metric units, I would be totally fucked...

"Junction 2km ahead"

Well where the fuck is that? I mean, can I stay cruising in the fast lane? I know that 1mile = 5/8km... or is it the other way round? Yep, 1km = 5/8 of a mile, but as I'm doing 87mph down the motorway am I really going to want to be doing some mental arithmetic ?

Well, even if I was fine with it - think of all those poor OAPs who will be bumbling along in their metros thinking: "what's a metre?" hmmm...

And then there's the whole speed thing... grrr.

Suffice to say these bloody politically-correct twats shd just shut up.

Oh and if they expect my taxes to pay for it all then may they burn in hell forever... rah!

Roger said...

Mr Kinnock in his typical EU propaganda fashion puts his mouth into gear before he uses his brain... but then maybe that doesn't help... the so-called modern metric system was developed in France during the Napoleonic reign in the 1790's.

If 200 years old is modern... then Neil Kinnock is a mere Foetus... and that probably says it all.
Roger Hayes

GenghisBlog said...

The very fact that our ennobled friend Lord Kinnock of Bedwettie is backing this cause is proof of the desperation of the UKMA in their search for someone who might give weight and credence to their cause. Getting a clown such as Kinnock, who espoused, amongst other causes, the elimination of corruption within the E.U. bureacracy, while succeeding in sacking the only whistleblower who stepped forward is proof, to me at least, that there is no urge from within the ranks of NuLabour to push for another expensive debacle, especially after commencing the £19 billion I.D. card fraud

Anonymous said...

To convert road signs to metric seems to me to be a waste of money; there is no discernable economic benefit to so doing.

A couple of little metrication stories: some years ago I was installing a shower on a British boat in the South of France. I asked the local plmbers' merchant for some 15mm pipe. "15mm?" he said, "no, 14 or 16. Who on earth uses 15?". We sorted out some adaptors and I asked for a tap. "Half inch or three-quarter?" he said. So much for international standard metrication!

Second story: The Yak 52 is an ex-Russian Air Force trainer. The Russians use all metric units. For speed, that is not a problem except for the cruising speed; otherwise you just "fly the numbers". You need cruising speed in knots because all air trafic information and wind speeds are in nautical miles and knots, so you just mark the cruising speeds in knots in white ink. Height, though, must be in feet; that is a legal requirement in the UK. That being said, French aeronautical charts use a mixture of feet and metres - some for terrain and others for controlled airspace - but do not always note which is which. The advantage of this system is that, provided you don't fly into a mountain by mistake, it keeps you awake.


Giles Pepperell said...

The revolution moves closer....

Anonymous said...

Well I'm sorry you guys... the old system of yards & miles is a load of crap and the sooner we change to metric the better...

Whats a mile... whats a yard and how many yards are in a mile (bet most of the oldies dont even know that.)

I'm a 27 year old truck driver and the system in the uk is old and out of date. and dont be fooled by imperial units. Have you ever approched roadworks on the motorway and seen signs saying 600yds, 200yds etc. next time you do check your odometer. those 600yds etc are in metres realy.

I have been educated in metric and so have millions of others and the only way forward for the UK is to go fully metric. forget the old system for the older population because i dont wanna cause any offence, but they aint gonna be around for ever.

Anonymous said...

America wins the most the gold medals and dont use metric? what has that got to do with anything? espically when the rest of the world bar us and the U.S winning golds do use metric, what a ridiculas point.

As for the pro metric brigade being in the minority maybe with the 45 and over bracket. But with people who are aged between 16 to 44 id say the majority are pro metric.

It never suprise me just how selfish the older genrations are, even though your own children and grand children are taught metric you would rather sabotage their educations for your own selfish needs. They have been teaching metric in schools for 40 years now and children are taught kiolmetres, why should they have their educations changed and be re taught just for you?

The future of this country are taught metric and the sooner the goverment put the yougnster first and makes this country fully metric the better, some of us like our metric. Do yourselfs a favour sit down with your grand kids take an interest and learn something

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