Active Resistance to Metrication
66 Chippingfield, HARLOW, Essex CM17 0DJ Tel/Fax: 01279 635789

PRESS RELEASE Monday 25 Feb

[ Note: This Press Release is exclusive to the Hastings Observer ]

164 METRIC DISTANCES IN HASTINGS CONVERTED TO BRITISH DISTANCES IN TWO RAIDS (latest raid this weekend)

PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES – please see below

Members of Active Resistance to Metrication (ARM) swooped on Hastings for the second time in 7 weeks to convert 164 metric distance signs in the town to miles, yards, feet and inches. This weekend’s raid, when 130 signs were converted, is the group’s biggest one-day swoop to date, beating their previous record of converting 122 metric footpath signs in Ely, Cambridgeshire, one day last November.

Most metric distance and height signs are illegal under the Traffic Signs Regulations 1994. The raids had been planned for some time. The signs altered include:

1. Thirteen sets of cast-iron fingerpost distance signs, from Rock-a-Nore to Bexhill-on-Sea, all previously in metric, have now been professionally converted to miles and yards by affixing attractive black-and white metal plates to them.
2. Four double-sided footpath signs in The Ridge area of Hastings were similarly converted from metres to yards.
3. Five direction signs in the town centre have been painted over and lettered in yards instead of metres.
4. Several car park signs with only metric heights on them have been converted to feet and inches.
5. A tourist sign near the Tourist Information Centre giving the distance to the Museum as 150 MTS was converted to read 150 yds.

The plates, exterior-quality lettering and industrial glue used for ARM’s work cost around £500. Said Tony Bennett, 54, a Rights Adviser from Harlow, Essex, and a member of the Active Resistance to Metrication Council: Our money comes solely from public subscription and we consider it was money well spent.

Information officer for ARM, Polly Peck, said:
Hastings is definitely a metric blackspot. We notified the Council in the summer about their metric signs but they took no action. We weren’t able to finish the job on Saturday and will be back again unless Hastings and East Sussex Councils put all their signs back into British distances. The authorities are pursuing their own metric agenda without consulting the people as to what they want. In the last survey of public opinion by Gallup in 1995, 97% of British people said they preferred miles and only 3% preferred kilometres”.

The raid is one of several high-profile raids ARM has carried out in recent months (details on request). The sign to the Museum converted to yards was the group’s 1,000th conversion (full up-to-date list of 1,015 conversions available on request including by e-mail). Said Tony Bennett: We are now escalating our nationwide campaign to wipe out metric signs from our roads and footpaths, in the light of the Appeal Court deciding (last week) that Metric Martyr Steve Thoburn will keep a criminal record for selling a bunch of bananas for 25p. Members of ARM use code names when carrying out demetrication exercises. The weekend raid was carried out by Firkin and Furlong.

IMPORTANT LOCAL FOOTNOTE:

The current national Chairman of British Weights and Measures Association (BWMA), Mr Mike Plumbe, lives at Swan Terrace, Hastings (Tel: 01424 713737). BWMA entirely support ARM’s aims but do not necessarily support its methods. Mr Plumbe had no prior knowledge of the raid. It is likely he will offer an on the record quote about the raids if asked.

BEST PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES:

The professionally-amended signs may be seen and photographed in several locations. The best are:
1. Warrior Square promenade: 10 fingers on a cast-iron sign converted to miles and yards
2. Footpath signs on The Ridge (location details on request)
3. A third excellent photo opportunity is the bizarre combination of a metric distance sign (100m to Spiritualist Church) right next to another sign reading: 125 yards. ARM has left that in place to illustrate the absurdity of using two different systems of distance measurement. The two signs are on railings
outside the Abbey National Building Society

CONTACTS: Tony Bennett 01279 635789
Polly Peck 01480 435837