|BWMA - campaigning for inch-pound industries and
Metric Transport and Signs
Join the Action
The Campaign against
best defence against Kilometre "K-Day" is to act now against the current
encroachments, in particular, by purging illegal metric signs from every corner
of the United Kingdom. By rolling back the metric conversion of road and
pedestrian signs, we can send a message to future governments that we will
NEVER accept the use of kilometres on our roads.
|Illegal kilometre signs have been seen in West Yorkshire, Hackney and
Anyone can contribute to the campaign against metric
signage. We suggest you use the following plan of action:
illegal metric signs. The signs to identify
directional signs marked in metres or kilometres, including those for
pedestrians as well as motorists. Metric distances on direction signs are
unlawful even when accompanied by mile/yard indications.
- Any sign with
metric-only indications for restrictions on traffic width, length and weight,
so long as there are no corresponding imperial signs alongside.
2) Record the
illegality. Having located unlawful metric signs, take photographs for
reference and campaign purposes. Make a note of the location of the sign (ie
street or junction). Survey the locality for further breaches of the law.
Report the sign on BWMA's Metric Transport Signage
3) Write a letter of
complaint to the relevant authority. If the sign is on a local road,
write to the transportation or highway department of the county council. Their
address will be in the telephone directory under the name of the county
If the sign is on a motorway or trunk road, write
to the Highways Agency at (for England), St Christopher House, Southwark
Street, London SE1 0TE.
A letter may read like the
|"Dear Sir or Madam,
While travelling along [name] Road on [date], I
saw a sign near the junction of [road], the giving the [distance/height/width,
etc] in metres. I enclose a photograph for your assistance.
As you may be aware, the 2002 Traffic Signs
Regulations and General Directions require that [select as
- distances on signs for [motorists/pedestrians] be
described in yards and miles only. Metric units are not permitted.
- height and width restrictions be described in feet
and inches. Metric may also be used, but only alongside, and not as an
alternative to, imperial units.
While I appreciate these signs may have been erected
in error, they are illegal. Please can you give me an indication as to when
these signs will be replaced with legal signs displaying imperial units. Please
also give an assurance that any other metric signs within your authority will
also be replaced.
I look forward to hearing your reply at the earliest
Yours faithfully, etc
Do not enter debates with local councils about
arguments for and against metric signage (eg to help tourists). If a local
authority believes that metre signs are beneficial, then it is up to them to
have the law changed. Until then, you need only argue that they must comply
with the law. If you wish, copy the letter to the Traffic Signs Policy Branch
of the Department of Transport, Local Government and Regions (DTLR), Zone 3/21,
Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street, London SW1P
pedestrian signs, some councils try to evade their legal obligations by saying
these are not distance signs but "information" signs. This as bureaucratic
fiction; do not be diverted by this explanation. Signs in metres are illegal
and councils have no choice under law but to replace
|Don't be fooled - metric pedestrian signs are
4) Approach the District
Auditor. If the council does not correct the illegality, make a
complaint to the District Auditor. The role of the District Auditor is to
ensure that public authorities only spend council taxpayers' money on items
that the law permits. A complaint to the District Auditor may read as
|"Dear Sir or Madam,
Request for Investigation into Unlawful
Expenditure by [town/city] Council.
The above Council has spent taxpayers money on
unlawful metric road signs, that is to say, signs not permitted by the 2002
Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions. These regulations lay down
clear requirements for units of measurement that may and may not be used for
signs intended for use by road traffic and pedestrians.
In summary, the regulations permit [select from
the following as appropriate]:
The signs in question [give details of type]
appear at [give street/junction location].
- imperial-only signs for distance but not the
use of dual metric-imperial or metric-only distance signs;
- imperial-only or dual imperial-metric signs
for height and width but not metric-only unless accompanied by an imperial-only
The 2002 Regulations represent the law of the
land and [town/city] Council is obliged to conform with these regulations, just
as the public is required to conform with parking restrictions, etc. Local
authorities are required to be aware of the law on units of
I would ask that you to consider appropriate
financial penalties on those Members and Officers who authorised this unlawful
expenditure. Any expenditure not authorised should be met by them and not
The offence is compounded by the wilful refusal
of [officer's name] to remedy the offending signs, even when the illegality has
been pointed out to him [enclose his or her letter].
Yours faithfully, etc
5) Raise the matter in the
letters column of the local newspaper. Send them a photograph of the
unlawful metric sign. The following points may be
- The purpose of road signs is to communicate information regarding
distance and speed to motorists and other users. We have such a system: yards,
miles and mph. Metric conversion is therefore not necessary.
- Metric signs are less accurate than customary signs. For example,
using metres to describe the width of bridges (eg 4.4m) achieves an accuracy of
only one tenth of a metre, or four inches. Imperial signs (eg 14'6") are
accurate to within one inch.
- The view that metric signs help Continental tourists is negated by
the corresponding lack of help to American tourists. In practice, Continental
tourists are often interested by signs showing miles, yards, feet and inches,
while Americans are delighted to discover that they are not alone in using
- Dual yard/metre and mile/kilometre signs should only be allowed in
Britain on the condition that similar signs are adopted across the Continent.
- Altogether, there are 2.5 million signs in England alone, of which
perhaps 2 million make some reference to distance or speed. The costs of
conversion would be huge.
- According to Gallup, 95% of people in Britain think in miles compared
to only 3% for kilometres. Changing to kilometres would cause misunderstanding,
make enforcement of speed limits more complicated and increase the likelihood