UKMA issued the following news release at 18:05 on 28 December:
news release … newsrelease … news release … news release … news release …
For immediate release
UK speed limits go metric on 1 January
LONDON, 28 December 2007,
From 2008, the practical speed limits for goods vehicles and buses on UK motorways will become 90 km/h and 100 km/h respectively. This equates to approximately 56 mph and 62 mph. This is because of new speed limiter regulations which commence in January.
From 1 January 2008, all goods vehicles and buses, registered since 2005, and many older vehicles, will be required to be fitted with speed limiters, in addition to those that have been required to do so for some years, such as goods vehicles that travel internationally.
This means that the official motorway speed limits of 60 mph and 70 mph for these vehicles, as shown in the Highway Code, will effectively be superseded; though some older goods vehicles will remain unaffected by the change. According to a leaflet issued by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA)
“It is likely, once all the changes to vehicles requiring road speed limiters have taken place (after 1 January 2008), the national motorway speed limit for goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and buses will be lowered.
Restricting all vehicles in these classes to the same speed limit will reduce any competitive advantage of older vehicles (which are not required to have speed limiters).”
Although many foreign goods vehicles display a plate on the rear of the vehicle giving their speed limit in kilometres per hour, these plates will be optional for UK vehicles. VOSA recommends that where they are used they should be in miles per hour, thus conflicting with foreign vehicles.
Robin Paice, Chairman of the UK Metric Association, which campaigns for a complete changeover to the metric system, said:
“This muddle demonstrates yet again that the insistence of the Department for Transport (DfT) on clinging to out-dated imperial units for road signs and speed limits is becoming increasingly untenable in today’s modern world.”
The UK is one of only two major countries that have yet to make the switchover to metric units for road signs (the other being the USA). The Republic of Ireland was the most recent country to do so in 2005. The DfT is resisting the change, citing incredibly high cost estimates, even though Ireland has shown that the change can be made economically.
For further information on why switching to metric road signs and speed limits is in the UK’s best interest, read UKMA’s publication
“Metric Signs Ahead”, Paice, ISBN : 978-0-9552351-0-8.
Notes for editors:
(a) The UK Metric Association (UKMA) is an independent, non-party political, single issue organisation which advocates the full adoption of the international metric system (“Systeme International” – SI) for all official, trade, legal, contractual and other purposes in the United Kingdom as soon as practicable. UKMA is financed entirely by membership subscriptions and personal donations.
(b) Further extensive background information can be found generally on UKMA’s website at www.ukma.org.uk
(c) A free downloadable electronic version of “Metric signs ahead” is available to bona fide journalists. Contact email@example.com.
(d) The Chairman of UKMA is available for interviews in Portsmouth or by telephone.
(e) Please note that the correct symbol for “kilometres per hour” is “km/h” (as on vehicle instrument panels) – not the little understood “kph”.