The ferocious attack on pounds and ounces over the
past five years has obscured moves by the government against another major
component of our traditional system, the use of miles by Britain's road
traffic, pedestrians, waterways and railways.
This fact may, or may not,
be the reason for the government's inability to make a statement of principle
regarding the future use of miles and yards on Britain's roads. When asked its
position, the government says that it has no current plans to change road signs
BUT that it will consider doing so when most drivers have been educated in
metric. This will not be at least until 2010, but there is already
evidence that the government is already gearing up for K-Day
along Britain's roads and highways.
BWMA is a
consultee to Department of Transport consultations
and has argued against moves towards metric conversion for reasons of safety
and consistency. BWMA members have
persuaded some local authorities to remove their
unlawful signs. However, other groups, not convinced by government assurances,
have launched campaigns of "direct action" against unlawful metric road and
pedestrian signs. They argue that physical action is the only real means of
defence against "K-Day". One member of such a groups, has been
police for removing metric signs. BWMA can only support lawful acts,
but we recognise that local authorities openly flout the
A significant break
through was achieved in 2002 when campaign action forced the Department for
Transport to issue a memo to all councils confirming that metric signs
With regards to signs
along Britain's canals and
rivers, these are already caught by EC regulations and the
government has dutifully made it clear that these will go metric accordingly.
This is despite longstanding opposition by waterway preservation groups and the
the cost and damage that metric conversion would cause to the waterways.