The UK’s government’s recent announcement that imperial measures for traders could return has been called ‘a backward step,’ ‘ridiculous’ and ‘a waste of time and expense’ by members of the weighing industry.
And, in a recent survey, 90% of respondents believed it was a ‘bad idea.’
Following the news that the government was re-assessing thousands of EU-era regulations, and that imperial measures could return, weighing scale manufacturer Adam Equipment asked thousands of customers and distributors for their opinion on the announcement.
Since 2000, the UK has used the metric system when buying or selling based on weight. As part of UK law, metric measurements must be used to determine the price of goods if they are weighed at the point of sale.
Previously, the UK had used imperial measurements; switching to metric brought the UK in line with the rest of Europe.
But the news sparked outrage from those who responded to Adam Equipment’s survey – with 90% of respondents believing that reverting to imperial measurements is not a good idea. However, 60% of respondents didn’t actually believe it would happen.
One respondent, Dave Darlison of Weigh-Till, commented: “It would be a backward step that would probably be reversed again by a new government. New generations will be quite happy to use a metric system so why change just for a few diehards?”
Another said: “It is a ridiculous idea. All young people only think in decimal and it has taken everyone else to get used to metric and to change back now would be senseless.”
“This would be a costly exercise, and would cause confusion,” added Doug Bohn from Blake & Boughton Ltd.
As part of the current law, weighing scales used as part of a transaction must weigh in metric only and not be capable of easily switching to imperial readings. This is to avoid mis-selling of goods to the customer, for example if imperial readings were mistakenly taken for metric ones.
“If the government made the decision to revert to imperial measurements for traders, all weighing scales used for this purpose would need to be replaced or converted,” said Richard Storey, Managing Director of Adam Equipment.
“Our guess is that should the government decide to proceed with this suggested plan, there will be an extended ‘grace period’ for traders to switch their scales. But it will, for many, be a costly exercise and we would do our best to make it as pain-free a transition as possible for our customers and distributors.”
“Our survey has shed an important light on the thoughts and opinions of those in the industry, however – it remains to be seen if the wider public response to going back to imperial measurements is the same.”
About Adam Equipment
Adam Equipment was founded in 1972 in Milton Keynes. It designs and manufactures precision balances and scales for professionals worldwide. Adam Equipment’s global distribution network serves the laboratory, medical, education, industrial, food, and animal/veterinary markets. Its head office is in the UK and has extensive operations and holdings in the United States, China, Australia, South Africa and Germany.