UK Metrification – EU ban on selling eggs by the dozen
News 27 06 2010 : EU to ban Britain selling eggs by the dozen. In the September of 2007 Gunter Verheugen, Europe’s Industry Commissioner, conceded “This is a pointless battle. . . there was absolutely no point at all in trying to get rid of the particular heritage of one member state.”. Following years of wrangling between London and Brussels over metrication European commissioners agreed unanimously that beer, roads and apples could be measured in the UK by whatever unit local people choose to use. Despite the above, MEP’s last week voted to end Britain’s deal with Brussels against objections from UK Members. In this latest incident the rules will not allow both the weight and the quantity to be displayed meaning that shoppers will need to become acquainted with the average kg measure of single items in order to estimate the number being purchased in a box or packet as supplied by total kg. Facing redundancy are the words dozen, half dozen and bakers dozen to the shoppers vocabulary which relate to “numeric quantity” and not measurement units themselves as "supplementary indications".
Standards as to metrification has been a long standing issue to the British Government beginning in 1854 when Sir John Wrottesley set up the "Decimal Association" in order to lobby for decimalisation of both measurement and coinage. In 1884 the UK signed a treaty on Metrification while in 1896 the Metric Act came into being legalising metric units but not making them compulsory. To the changing seats of revolving Governmental power attitudes reversed and reversed again however come 1969 the Metrification Board was set up in an advisory capacity to demonstrate forwardness yet having no powers unlike in other Countries, this at a time when Britain joined the Common Market. One year later a Commons debate on Metrification ended in a farce to which the Governing Labour party was then unpopular and the opposition Conservatives revolted on the issue. In 1973 Britain joined the European Community (EEC) agreeing to drop the use of non-metric units for selling goods by 1978 following which in 1980 the Gov announce the abolishion of the Metrification Board due to cost cutting measures and by which date most pre-packaged goods were sold by metric measure. EU directive (1994) 89/617/EEC required that the UK government pass laws finally permitting the sale of goods using metric labelling, while permitting dual measurement too yet the legal requirements from 1st January 2000 to “goods sold loose or from bulk” sold by reference to units of quantity must, by law, be “weighed” and sold using metric units but also allowing traditional units to be displayed as "supplementary indications". EU Commissioner Gunther Verheugen in 2007 voiced that the dual marking of goods in the UK would continue indefinitely saying that it's a pointless battle in making the UK metric however in 2010 the House of Lords expresses it concerns over the continued use of imperial Units.
In October <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />2008 a Market Trader was convicted of selling fruit and veg by the imperial pound and ordered to pay some £5,000 in costs. According to Sir Isac Newtons 2nd Law of motion Force is the product of mass (“m” in kg) multiplied by acceleration (”a” in m/s^2) and in terms of the weight bearing down towards/on the Earths surface the acceleration is commonly known as gravity or gravitational acceleration (g) of standard value 9.81m/s^2 thus resulting in the equation F=mg. To calibrate scales in purely units of mass (kg) then m = F/g and so while the market trader was providing “a multiplier of gravity to the weight” using scales calibrated in pounds she was punished for not using scales as a “divider of gravity into the weight” resulting in kg’s as a Basic Unit and not as a product of Units to which force be as given by Sir Isac Newton. [ ‘g’ at the Equator = 9.78030 m/s^2 and ‘g’ at the North Pole = 9.8322 m/s^2 ].
Decimal Time: During the French Revolution France degreed “decimal time” and on the 24 November 1793 the parts were subsequently named. In 1795 decimal time was suspended while in 1897 France again attempted to introduce decimal time whereby a commission proposed a compromise of retaining the 24-hour day, but dividing each hour into 100 decimal minutes, and each minute into 100 seconds. In 1900 it was abandoned.
00 00 1854Sir John Wrottesley set up the "Decimal Association" in order to lobby for decimalisation of both measurement and coinage.
00 00 1862 Select Committee on Weights and Measures favoured the introduction of decimalisation to accompany the introduction of metric weights and measures.
00 00 1864 Private Member's Bill legalised use of the metric system in contractsbut due to ambiguous wording of the law it meant that traders who possessed metric weights and measures were still liable to arrest under Acts 5 and 6 William IV c63
00 00 1875 convention in Paris on Metrification. The United Kingdom was one of the countries that declined to sign the convention.
00 00 1884 United Kingdom signs the treaty on metrification.
00 00 1896 UK Parliamentpasses the Weights and Measures (Metric System) Act, legalising metric units for all purposes but not making them compulsory.
00 00 1897 A Select Committee recommends that metrication become compulsoryby 1899
00 00 1902 Empire conferencedecides that metrication should be compulsory across the British Empire.
00 00 1904Lord Kelvin leads a campaign for metrication. On the opposition side, 1904 saw the establishment of the British Weights and Measures Association for "the purpose of defending and, where practicable, improving the present system of weights and measures".
00 00 1907 Bill draftedproposing compulsory metricationby 1910,including decimalisation of coinage. The opposition declared that decimalisation of coinage would cost £100m alone.////////////////////// Wars and depression period //////////////////////
00 00 1951Hudgson Report – recommends compulsory metrication and currency decimalisation within 10 years.
00 00 1965 Board of Tradeand the Confederation of British Industry declared their full support for metrication and decimalisation.
00 00 1969 Britain joins the Common Market.
00 00 1969 Metrication Board set up – having only an "advisory, educational and persuasive role" unlike its South African and Australian counterparts which had mandatory powers.
00 00 1970 Commons debate on the introduction of compulsory metrication ended in farce. The governing Labour party was then unpopular and the opposition Conservatives revolted on the issue. Examples include:Robert Redmond, MP "When I have travelled abroad and particularly on the Continent, I have noticed that people have on their desks calculating machines while we in Britain do the same sums in our heads.". Henry Kerby, MP "this metric madness, this alien academic nonsense, introduced secretly through the back door by a bunch of cranks and the big business tycoons...and put into clandestine operation." Carol Mather, MP "I am led to the conclusion that comprehensive universal metrication is a bit of a nonsense... there is a gap between the millimetre and the metre, there is no centimetre...The kilo is too heavy for the housewife to carry and we know that in France and Denmark they use the old system of the pound." Following the debate the projected deadlines for the phased metrication steps were delayed one by one. The original intention of metrication "in concert with the Commonwealth" backfired; Australia, New Zealand and South Africa all completed their metrication processes by 1980, the year that the Metrication Board was abolished as a cost cutting measure
00 00 1973 The UK joins the European Community
00 00 1978UK accession treaty to the EEC - to drop the use of non-metric units for selling goods by this date.
00 00 1980 Metrication Board abolished as a cost cutting measure.
00 00 1980 Most pre-packaged goods were sold by metric measure by this date
00 00 1994 EU Units of measurement directive 89/617/EEC required the UK government to pass laws in this year finally permitting the sale of goods using metric labelling, while permitting dual measurement.
00 00 1995 Mandatory use of metric units“for packaged goods” takes effect.
00 00 2000 Mandatory metric measures for “goods sold loose or from bulk”Legal requirements from 01 01 2000 - all loose goods sold by reference to units of quantity must, by law, be “weighed” and sold using metric units, but traditional units may be displayed as "supplementary indications".
00 00 2000 Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 (TSRGD). This stipulates linear units of measure to be in miles, yards, feet and inches. Weight limits are expressed in tonnes and, notwithstanding the fact that "T" is the recognised symbol for teslas. Speed limits are in miles per-hour, but no units are shown on the sign. On the UK motorway network, signs display distances in miles (often using the character "m" as a symbol, in conflict with the metric system where "m" is the symbol for metre). A 2002 version of the legislation was the relaxation of the "Imperial only" rule in respect of height, width and length warning and prohibition signs by permitting such signs to display metric "supplementary indications" Since the late 1970s, British roads have been designed using metric units.
00 00 2005 European Commission demands Britain to set a legal deadline for the completion of metrication.
00 02 2006 Alistair Darling confirms that the Gov has abandoned its previously long-standing plans to convert the UK's 2 million road signs to metric, purely on the grounds of cost.
09 05 2007European Commission drops it plans to enforce the abolition of Imperial measures from 2010. Commissioner Gunther Verheugen stated that - dual marking of goods would "continue indefinitely. Derek Pollard, the secretary of the UK Metric Association, said the commissioner had given in to American manufacturers, who lobbied against labelling their products in metric for the European market.
10 09 2007 European Commission publishes a proposed amendmentto EU Directive 80/181/EEC that would permit "supplementary indicators" to be used indefinitely. Indecision and political opposition led the UK government to renegotiate this date first to 31 December 1989, then 1994, 1999 and recently to 31 December 2009.
11 09 2007EU ends 'pointless battle' to make UK metric.
11 10 2008 Market trader convicted selling fruit and veg by the pound. Magistrates ordered Mrs Devers, from Wanstead, east London, to pay just under £5,000 in costs and told her she would have a criminal record after being found guilty of eight offences under the Weights and Measures Act. The EU commissioner Mr Verheugen confirmed to this newspaper that the decision on whether to prosecute was up to the British authorities.
00 00 2009 British Department for Transport publishes a draft version of legislation to amend the TSRGD for comment. Amongst the proposed changes is an amendment to existing legislation to it mandatory to use dual units on height and width warning and restriction signs.Based on records from Network Rail’s incident logs since April 2008, approximately 10 – 12% of bridge strikes involved foreign lorries.
25 02 2010 House of Lords expresses concerns of the continued use of Imperial units. The Government’s own NHS hospitals are still using imperial measuring devices in weighing patients which puts them at great risk since their weight in Kg is a factor to the dosage of many powerfull drugs, hence putting patients at risk.
Road signs in Great Britain are regulated by Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 (TSRGD). Weight limits are expressed in tonnes and the legislation permits either "T" or "t" to be used as the symbol for "tonnes" while “T” also be recognised as a symbol for Tesla. Speed limits are assumed to be in miles per-hour since no units are shown on signs. In New Zealand parking signs simply show a prefix then a number like P30 or P60 leaving tourists to interpret their meanings but educated on receiving a ticket. On the UK motorway network, signs display distances in miles using the character "m" which is in conflict with “m” for metres as per SI Units. In 2005 York City council erected 30 hiking trail signs with kilometre (km) distance markings but then conceded that the law did not authorise them.
A UK pro-metric movement the UK Metric Association summarised the situation as "British weights and measures are in a mess”
05 10 1793 France. Decree of this date during the French Revolution. The day, from midnight to midnight, is divided into ten parts, each part into ten others, so on until the smallest measurable portion of duration. These parts were named on 24 November 1793 (4 Frimaire of the Year II).
22 09 1794 France: Decimal time officially used at the beginning of the Republican year III. Although clocks and watches were produced with faces showing both standard time with numbers 1–24 and decimal time with numbers 1–10, decimal time never caught on.
07 04 1795 France: Decimal time - mandatory use was suspended in the same law which introduced the original metric system.
00 00 1897 France: Another attempt at the decimalization of time. Commission de décimalisation du temps was created by the Bureau des Longitudes, with the mathematician Henri Poincaré as secretary. The commission proposed a compromise of retaining the 24-hour day, but dividing each hour into 100 decimal minutes, and each minute into 100 seconds.
00 00 1900 France: The 1897 plan did not gain acceptance and was abandoned in this year.