EU allows pints and miles to stay on in metric world

17th December 2008, Comments 1 comment

The pint and mile have been rescued from the dustbin of history by the EU.

STRASBOURG - The European parliament on Tuesday saved the pint and mile from EU extinction, saving British and Irish drinkers from having to order half litres or drive at under 110 kilometres per hour.

Under the measure, agreed without a vote at a second reading in the Strasbourg chamber, traders will also be able to display imperial and metric measurements side by side in shops and elsewhere.

"The (British) government may be eager to scrap the pound as our currency, but at least we can say we have saved it indefinitely - as a measurement at any rate,"

STRASBOURG - The European parliament on Tuesday saved the pint and mile from EU extinction, saving British and Irish drinkers from having to order half litres or drive at under 110 kilometres per hour.

Under the measure, agreed without a vote at a second reading in the Strasbourg chamber, traders will also be able to display imperial and metric measurements side by side in shops and elsewhere.

"The (British) government may be eager to scrap the pound as our currency, but at least we can say we have saved it indefinitely - as a measurement at any rate," said British Conservative MEP Giles Chichester.

"Under this law, shoppers will be able to continue using the measurement they prefer."

EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen, called the parliamentary decision "good news for the people in the UK and Ireland who prefer to use pints and miles as current practices will remain in place."

"Today's agreement will also ensure that imperial measurements can be indicated alongside metric - a measure that will lower costs for industry by allowing them the same labelling for their exports, whether in the EU or elsewhere in the world."

The United States is the major imperial trading partner for Europe.

Under the previous scheme, by the end of 2009 Britain and Ireland would have had to give firm dates for scrapping the imperial measures.

The parliamentary vote assures that milk bottles and draught beer may be sold as pints and road signs marked in miles, under a special deal for Britain and Ireland.

For other goods "supplementary indications" may be retained by all EU nations, eurospeak for allowing imperial measurements - pounds, ounces, pints etc. - to be used alongside metric ones.

One imperial casualty though is the acre. The European Commission had said that this imperial measure is no longer used for land registration in either Britain or Ireland and would be "repealed".

Also Ireland has already switched its road signs to kilometres and metres, leaving Britain as the only EU nation using miles for speed limits and distances.

[AFP/Expatica]

1 Comment To This Article

  • Adrian March posted:

    on 17th December 2008, 11:36:40 - Reply

    The UK has for years been showing metric distances on road signs, even if they don't admit it. What are 2/3 mile and 1/3 mile if they aren't 1Km and ½Km? It's odd that they never measured in thirds of a mile before other measurements went metric!