Active Resistance to Metrication

Reply to: Meadowbank, 9 Station Cottages, Brampton Road, HUNTINGDON, Cambridgeshire, PE29 3BW Tel: 01480 435837

Mr Tim Rawlinson Tuesday 24 March 2004
Director-General,
Forestry Commission, Silvan House
231Corstorphine Road
EDINBURGH
S C O T L A N D
EH12 7AT

Copied to:
Mr Mark Thorneycroft
Forestry Commission
340 Bristol Business Park
Coldharbour Lane
BRISTOL
BS16 1EJ

Mr Bob Murray, Recreation Section
Burley Products
Lyndhurst Road
BURLEY, c/o

Forestry Commission
Queens House
LYNDHURST,
Hampshire
SO43 7NH
Dear Mr Rawlinson,

Re: Forestry Commissions Illegal Metric Road Signs and general policy of obliterating the use of British units of measurement: New Forest (Fritham), Denbighshire (Moel Famau) and Bedfordshire (Shefford) and elsewhere.

I refer to previous correspondence on this subject, including the enclosed letter dated 21 October 2002.

Your predecessor has failed to take action to prevent the further erection of illegal Forestry Commission green-and-white road signs giving distances to car parks etc. in metres. And you appear to have done nothing about existing illegal signage. We find it hard to understand why the Forestry Commission goes on deliberately breaking the law. We were promised by your predecessor that he would take action and he fully conceded in writing to us and to a Mr P Honey from Staffordshire that your metric distance signs were illegal and that he would ensure that the Forestry Commission obeyed the law. The fact that you have failed to obey the law and have apparently failed to inform your local Forest managers about the situation is now wasting your money i.e. public money.

Supporters of our campaign have had to deal three times with an illegal set of signs on the A 600 just north of Shefford on the Bedford Road. They have erected plates giving the correct distance in miles and yards, which of course are the only authorised units for distance under the Traffic Signs and General Directions 2002. They have had to do so again as the plates were removed, revealing the old, illegal measurements underneath.

At Fritham, on the edge of the New Forest, you have failed for two years to replace two illegal signs. Supporters of ours in the area correctly amended these signs to read in yards and miles a few weeks ago. Amazingly, it seems that local staff ignored the law and may be unaware of the letters to you in which we pointed out the illegality of the signs. They may not be aware that your predecessor, after apparently taking legal advice, readily conceded that they were illegal. Your local officials have wasted money by re-erecting another two brand new illegal signs there in metres! It is only a matter of time before those distances are once again obliterated by local activists and covered over by legal signs in yards and miles. We have previously warned you that any illegal metric signs remaining on our roads are at risk of being amended without warning by local activists. We respectfully re-issue our warning in the hope that you will obey the law and ensure that all Forestry Commission signs comply with the law in future.

Finally, please note that an independent survey of over 1,000 people in 2002 showed 86% support for keeping miles, yards, feet and inches in use on our roads, with only 8% wanting kilometres and metres. The figures were the same for 18-24-year-olds as for older people. The Commissions preference for metric, if you don’t mind me putting it like this, goes right against the grain.

Yours sincerely

Polly Peck (Miss), Information Officer, A.R.M.

Copied to: Minister for Transport, for the attention of Mr Mike Talbot, Head of the Traffic Signs Policy Division, Department for Transport