The return of pints, pounds and inches? Government considers using post-Brexit freedoms to allow greater use of traditional imperial measures
- Government has said it will consider reverting back to imperial system
- The UK reverted to the metric system in the 1960s before it was adopted by EU
- Changes will not mean complete scrapping of metric system across the country
Imperial measurements like pints, pounds and inches could soon make a come back in the UK, thanks to Government considerations over changes to the current system.
The potential changes come off the back of Brexit, with freedoms from the EU allowing greater use of traditional measurements.
Today, the only products that are sold in imperial units are draught beer or cider by the pint, milk in ‘returnable containers’ by the pint, and precious metals by troy ounce.
Draught beer or cider are one of the only thing sold in Britain today by the pint
EU rules introduced in 1971 required member states to standardise the International System of Units instead of using the Centimetre–gram–second system of units (CGS) and MKS system, which uses the metre, kilogram and second as base units.
But, Britain was using the metric system prior to this. The decision for the UK to adopt the metric system was made in 1965 after lobbying by British Industry.
The metric system as it stands today was designed during the French Revolution in the 1790s, and uses a single base unit for each type of measurable quantity and then adds prefixes to indicate multiples of ten.
Warwick Cairns, a spokesman for the BritishWeights and Measures Association welcomed the potential change.
‘If you go to the supermarket and you want a pound of bananas or a pound of apples or whatever you should be free to ask for it and to receive it,’ he said.
Milk in returnable containers (such as glass bottles) are also sold by the pint
He added that imperial measurements are a ‘living connection with our past.’
‘A lot of these measures come from the Romans who in turn took them from other cultures before them,’ he said.
Business Minister Paul Scully said: ‘Now we have left the EU we will consider whether further limited exemptions can be applied for other traditional uses.’
But, the changes may not mean the end of the metric system in Britain entirely.
Business Minister Paul Scully has said the Government will consider changes to the system
‘The Government recognises some people have a preference to use imperial units in their day to day lives,’ Mr Scully added.
”At the same time, it recognises that many others are not familiar with imperial units and that the use of metric is a necessity for British businesses to compete in markets around the world.’