Degrees of confusion

Sky News are currently giving weather forecasts for individual cities on their morning show in the form of icons in the corner of the screen.

On seeing two temperatures for each city, you might expect that they are minimum and maximum temperatures, as is conventional for city forecasts. But these temperatures are more reminiscent of those found in the Middle East.

Even after using the international standard Celsius system for 40 years, it seems that we are expected to realise that the pairs of figures shown are actually both maximum temperatures, but using two different systems.

When will the media make it easier for us all, and stick to one standard temperature scale?

Polish language signs highlight signage mess

Highway authorities have provided metric and Polish language signage for Polish motorists but continue to ban metric signs for the rest of us.

A report in yesterday’s news media describes how Cheshire highway authorities have erected Polish language signage The reason for this is the large number of Polish motorists who have been getting lost. The pictures in the article even show that the authorities have thoughtfully provided distances in metres.

It is astonishing that Polish signage has been erected when any vehicles driving in Britain from abroad face the challenge of miles per hour speed limits and distances marked in miles and yards. It is not easy to follow speed restrictions when your speedometer is marked only in km/h. Department for Transport estimates that typical day there are 12,000 foreign lorries and 95,000 British ones on the country’s roads; 11% of the lorries.

While having nothing against Polish visitors, have the highway authorities thought about those metric-educated drivers in this country? Education has been all-metric since 1974 yet over a generation of young adults have been forbidden from using it by DfT’s imperial signage policy. British roads are designed, surveyed and built using metric but anachronistic traffic sign rules continue to ban the metre and kilometre (

DTI claim that removing supplementary indications will be a barrier to trade

Britain’s department for trade and industry (DTI) has recently published a letter advocating continued derogation on using supplementary indications.

[Article by Roddy Urquhart]

Continue reading “DTI claim that removing supplementary indications will be a barrier to trade”

Suffolk bird flu outbreak illustrates Government mess on measurement

The news that bird flu has broken out at a turkey farm near Holton, Suffolk  illustrates once again the difficulty that the Government has in trying to run with an “official”  system of weights and measures while doing nothing to encourage its use.

The news that bird flu has broken out at a turkey farm near Holton, Suffolk means that Defra’s containment policy comes into action. Accordingly a 3 km protection zone and 10 km surveillance zone has been established around the farm.

Any user familiar with an Ordnance Survey map will be familiar with the kilometre grid system used for map references. Any OS map user will be able to understand what the protection zone and surveillance zone mean.

Although our roads are designed in metric and regulations for traffic signs are metric (see, Department for Transport continues to forbid the use of metric distances on traffic signs (scroll down the BBC story to see the map).

It is ludicrous for one part of government to use metric on a health & safety issue and another part to forbid its use! It is no wonder so many people in this country are not proficient in any system of units.