Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Metrication Madness! please sign this petition.

EU directive 80/181/EEC provides for everything to be measured in SI units. That is metric.

This is not a problem for lots of things but will be for others. For example if you own a vintage car, or are involved in model engineering you buy lots if things in imperial units. In particular the directive will ban when it comes fully into force in 2009 mentioning non SI units on the packaging.

In principle article 4 of the directive does make the following provisions:
The use of units of measurement which are not or are no longer legal
shall be authorized for:
— products and equipment already on the market and/or in service on
the date on which this Directive is adopted,
— components and parts of products and of equipment necessary to
supplement or replace components or parts of the above products and
However, the use of legal units of measurement may be required for the
indicators of measuring instruments.
Were we living in any other European country this would of course be a get out of jail free card, and any one who wanted to could and would ignore the directive. As one person on a model engineering list observed:
Depends where it is implemented; you can rely on most EU countries to implement in a liberal fashion, while the UK Civil Service will go out of its way to interpret everything in the most narrow, constraining and damaging way.

And will later bleat about other countries not applying the rules they themselves have made, and impose on the UK populace.
So I urge you to sign the petition here, the full text of which is:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to undertake to secure permanent derogation from those aspects of European Union directive 80/181which will, at the end of 2009, make the use of imperial units of measure illegal.
And under more details:

The economic and social effects of this ban will be wide ranging. Industries which export world wide will have major problems - many parts of the world still employ imperial standards. Spare and replacement parts for existing equipment built to imperial standards will cease to be available - it will not be possible to package, advertise or catalogue such items. Thousands of citizens with interests in vintage vehicles, preserved railways, model engineering, etc. will be deprived of legal access to tools and materials to pursue their interests. Public opinion is firmly in favour of retaining the option to use imperial units of measure if they so wish.

As an example of UK based EU madness, consider the fate of animal rendering plant in the UK. The EU waste directive specified that waste must be properly disposed of etc. blah blah. All very reasonable stuff until you ask yourself the question what is or is not waste. Rendering plant across the EU produce tallow as a result of the rendering process which they then use as fuel to render the next animal. Saves on cost and carbon emissions. Good idea. Not here though. The bureaucrats have defined tallow as a waste product of rendering so now not only do they have to pay for fuel they did not have to pay for before, they also have to get some one to dispose of a perfectly usable resource.

You can read the actual EU directive here, and the working paper on it here.

*cough* Thanks to Renaud for pointing out the lack of "out" in get out of jail free, now corrected. (oops)

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