DfT holds back TfL from all-metric usage

Transport for London (TfL) uses metres and kilometres to express distances in its press releases with few exceptions and often uses metres elsewhere in public places. However, speeds are expressed in miles per hour, no doubt due to Department for Transport (DfT) regulations and usage. Tariffs for taxi fares are expressed in metres for short journeys and in miles for longer journeys and reflect current regulations. I praise TfL for using metric units wherever they can. It is a pity that DfT regulations and usage are holding back TfL from going fully metric.

Continue reading “DfT holds back TfL from all-metric usage”

Retirement of the US survey foot

It is well known that the USA uses miles, feet and inches and they are identical to the English versions of these units used in the UK. What is a lot less well known is the fact that the USA had two official feet, the international foot and the survey foot. By extension, there were also two versions of derived units based on these two feet. So there were survey and international versions of common units such as the mile, yard and inch. The US survey foot was deprecated at the end of last year. This deprecation act shows the importance of ensuring uniformity and common standards in measurement matters.

Continue reading “Retirement of the US survey foot”

DfE fails to see link between poor numeracy and measurement muddle

The late Alan Young, a metric campaigner and a highly experienced maths teacher, mentioned the problems of the measurement muddle that British pupils face on a daily basis. On 1 September 2022, I wrote to my local MP to raise these issues with Department for Education (DfE). In their reply, they failed to see the connection between poor numeracy and the measurement muddle and suggested that the key stage 2 national curriculum addresses this problem.

Continue reading “DfE fails to see link between poor numeracy and measurement muddle”

REUL Impact Assessment described as “not fit for purpose”

On 15 November 2022, I condemned the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for failing to produce an impact assessment on the Retained EU Law Bill. One week later, BEIS published its impact assessment (IA). Its IA document looks like a blank form with notes for someone else to fill in the blanks. No actual figures are provided for changes or deletions of any affected laws. So it is no surprise that the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC), an advisory Non-Departmental Public Body of BEIS, has described the IA as “not fit for purpose”.

Continue reading “REUL Impact Assessment described as “not fit for purpose””

Weak regulations cause disasters like Grenfell Tower fire

Grenfell Tower was a block of flats with 24 floors in North Kensington, West London. On 14 June 2017, a fire broke out in Grenfell Tower and spread very fast throughout the block with the help of flammable cladding. This disaster destroyed Grenfell Tower and resulted in the loss of 72 lives. Many more were injured. This is a classic example of what can happen when regulations are non-existent or inadequate. If the Retained EU Law Bill becomes law, almost 4000 EU-derived laws could disappear overnight at the end of this year and ministers would only have to do nothing to let this happen.

Continue reading “Weak regulations cause disasters like Grenfell Tower fire”

No mention of measurements on Reform UK website

Reform UK is a right-wing Eurosceptic party, formerly called the Brexit Party. Its support has recently been roughly as high as the Liberal Democrats, at around 9% of the electorate. Its slogan is “Let’s Make Britain Great”, which sounds similar to former US president Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again”. How has Reform UK gained support in recent times without saying a word about imperial units?

Continue reading “No mention of measurements on Reform UK website”

GWR2023 reflects our measurement muddle

Today, we start the year with the 2023 edition of Guinness World Records, a famous annual publication. Obviously, this publication would not be possible without measurement. Unlike some foreign language versions of GWR2023, the English version is published with dual units to make allowances for metrication laggards like the UK and USA. GWR2023 contains some measurements in metric only and a few in imperial only, mainly related to records in the US, but the vast majority of measurements are predominantly expressed in dual units.

Continue reading “GWR2023 reflects our measurement muddle”