back to article EU abolishes the acre

The European Union has provided further evidence of its sinister plan to convert this once-proud nation into nothing more than a stuffed songbird-eating satellite of the Continent by "abolishing" the British acre, the Telegraph reports. Centuries of proud history and culture were undone on 15 July when the government signalled …


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  1. Pete Silver badge

    roods poles and perches.

    Acres? who cares. Just another obsolete measurement left over from the middle ages. Just as a question - without looking it up, how many readers can actually say how many square feet (or yards, or metres) there are in an acre? Easier: how many acres are there in a square mile?

    Nobody, huh. Thought so. It's simply a word that people cling on to with no real clue as to it's meaning. Give me a nice, simple 10,000 square metres (yes, 1 hectare) any day.

  2. Hollerith

    Do as the Europeans do

    Use hectares when dealing with the Governemnt, and use your local, ancestral land units for all other conversations. The Brits are so slavish about following rules!

  3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Daft unit

    What's wrong with square metres? Why would one ever want more than one unit of area, except to amuse El Reg readers?

    Oh, I get it. There must be a French IT news website that has a penchant for inventing bizarre new units and "hectare" must be one of theirs. I expect it's really funny in French or something.

  4. Mark Lockwood Silver badge

    Can we please keep to standard measuring units?

    So how many London Buses can you fit in a hectare?

  5. Steve

    It's not a superstate, honest.

    We just need everyone to register land in the same units because it looks neater.

    It's absolutely nothing to do with a federalist frog-boil.

  6. Steve Evans


    Can Johnny Foreigner not use a calculator?

    The EU seems fixed on removing anything that might require the use of one... Join all the currencies together into the Euro, tada! None of that annoying conversion. Maybe it's so nobody will have the ability to check their expenses claims!

    Come on you lazy buggers, we manage it all the time over here... Here are some rough conversions which you can do in your head. Please note I say rough.

    When cooking, or talking about the weather C = ( F - 30 ) / 2

    When talking about distance or speed, Miles = Kilometre / 1.5

    When employing a plumber, Złoty = UKP / 4

    And if you think that's bad, try dealing with Americans who take our units, and then short change you with them... 4 Fluid ounces missing from a pint, that's flamin' criminal!

    Oh, and well done to our unelected leader for being so spineless. Pity Hadrian didn't put rusty nails on the top of his wall, or you'd never have had the guts to cross it.

    How long would it take to clone Maggy and get her back in power? I know she did many unpopular things, but she had more bollocks (especially when it came to Europe) than all the leaders we've had since put together! Back in those days you could always cross the channel and hold your head and middle finger high and proud!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    160 square rods


    What is your problem?

  8. Steve Evans

    They missed this one

    Never mind, we've still got the carrucate.

    I've actually beaten Anonymous Coward to this one.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

    I should not need to know how many square feet there are in an acre. As a child I was shown an acre and can visualise it, that's the important bit. It's sad to see one more thing that formed part of my life just slung away. Capitulation to Euro measures should be after those brought up with British measurements are all in their pine boxes. Until then dual systems should remain. And that is particularly true for weather forecasters and their temperatures !

  10. Dave Harris


    Didn't really give us much of a chance there, did you?

    FWIW I always remember it as a chain by a furlong (22yds x 220yds), so 4840 square yards.

  11. Adam Trickett

    Which Acre?

    Why do people cling to obsolete often foreign ambiguous units of measures? when there is a perfectly decent and logical set to use that is the same everywhere in the world.

    A quick glance on Wikipedia shows that there are several different acres and even within the British Isles there were different ones in use...

  12. Rob Kirton

    Its a matter of conversion

    If I am kicked hard in the plums I *Know* I'll have two acres

    How many hectares is that?

  13. Dazed and Confused Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    So much for common sense.

    I thought that last year the EU were trumpeting a more grown up attitude by saying they didn't need to carry on their genocide program for people found guilty of not using French measurement units. I take it that the commission member responsible has been replaced for daring to not follow the federalist dream.

    Why a hectares anyway. It's not a SI unit. Don't these people realise that you are supposed to work in 3 orders of magnitude?

    Metres fine, Kilometers, OK, Mega meter should come next, anyone found referring to a 1000KM is just as out of order as people using miles.

    We don't go around measuring distance in decimetres or hectometers why should they suddenly go off and use it for area.

    If they want to change the unit, change it to the SI one.

    PS. the metre is a lasting testament to shoddy surveying. I'll support it if they go back at do it properly and then everyone switches to it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You dick.

    I can easily picture a square metre. I can easily picture an acre. I can easily picture a square mile. I cannot easily picture 10000 square metres. I cannot easily convert between any of them.

    The point is that I grew up with certain measurements based on physical examples. I don't give a shit what it's measured in as long as I can picture it. I certainly don't want anyone telling me what I should be measuring things in.

    Fortunately, no is.

    Which makes this post just as pointless as yours, albeit a lot less patronising.

  15. Anthony Zacharzewski

    Who cares?

    I can honestly say that I have never seen anything measured in acres, always m2 or hectares.

    I'd be happy for us to follow Ireland's lead and go to km for distance on road signs as well. It's not like people will be confused if you put km after the number - I learned the metric system at school in the 70s.

  16. Edward Miles


    Wait... the abolition of an arcane system of measurements in news?

    Wake me when something real happens

    *goes back to sleep*

  17. Nic Brough


    Meh, I never knew what an acre was in the first place, so I'm not bothered.

    If they go after inches/feet/yards and try to inflict some stupid, broken, nonsensical and functionally useless system on us though, I will be upset.

    Something based on some arbitrary measure like "1⁄10,000,000 of the distance between the North Pole an the Equator" which the French then miscalculate so it's totally random, and then base the multipliers on 10, so you can't easily divide it by 3 or 4 as well as 2.

    Mine's the one with the common sense in the pocket

  18. Stef


    @ Steve Evans

    Fahrenheit?! Even the BBC are gradually realising what a ridiculous unit that is.

    It's not a matter of not being able to convert - it's why should we.

    Ye Olde English units are ridiculous but Brit governments are too wishy-washy and in the thrall of the dread Daily Mail readership to grow a pair and get rid of them.

  19. Paul

    @ Pete

    With 10 chains to the furlong and 8 furlongs to the mile there are (10 x 8 x 8) = 640 acres in a square mile.

    Simple really.

  20. Mark

    re: roods poles and perches.

    Uh, how many people know that it's 10,000 sq m? And how many people can tell the difference between metres square and square metres?

    And why is it a square measurement for hectares anyway? The most efficient shape for farming is extremely oblong. Way back (before my time), some lords gave to their peasants the land in nice easy to measure square plots. The peasants knew this was a stupid barnstack idea and when production dropped, explained why.

    So I'd reckon you'd be better off talking to farmers how many acres they have and how many go into a square mile.

    PS why the feck should they care how many acres in a square mile there is? Land is sold in acres. Productivity is in "per acre". Land registry is in "acres". No conversion.

    So how many acres are there in my 10 acre plot?

    Oooh. Difficult.



  21. David Haworth

    And so dies a whole line of jokes ...

    ... because you can't get approx. 0.8 hectares by being kicked by a cow.

    Never mind, though - I'm sure the term won't die out for a long time. Here in Germany they still have:

    Zentner --- 50kg (hundredweight, near as dammit)

    Tonne --- 1000kg (ton, near as dammit)

    Pfund --- 500g (pound, near as dammit)

    Zoll --- inch (used for screen sizes and, curiously, threaded pipe fittings)

    Woche --- (week - still has 7 days) ;-)

    Not to mention degrees, hours, minutes etc. Expect them to be decimalised next.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    You can't visualize a hectare?

    "As a child I was shown an acre and can visualise it"

    So get someone to show you a hectare now. Job done.

    (Jeez, some people really seem to think that after they leave school they can switch their brain off for the rest of their life. And amazingly some of those people are in IT.)

  23. Chika

    @Mark Lockwood

    "So how many London Buses can you fit in a hectare?"

    Routemasters, Volvos or Bendy-buses?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    an acre?

    simply the distance between the stumps multiplied by ten times the distance between the stumps.

    Those countries who don't play cricket have to make do with hectares, in the UK we are much more civilised.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Just doesn't sound the same...

    Arnie's joke in Last Action Hero...

    "You wanna be a farmer? Here's 0.8093 hectares!"

    just doesn't sound funny in metric.

  26. Andrew Cooper

    Say it with me people...


    (yes I know that this is weight and not area, but still!)

  27. Tony Hoyle

    A what?

    Like lots of people I couldn't tell you what an acre was other than 'the size of a field'.

    A furlong I know of as the length of a race course, and it's a term only used by sports commentaters on a saturday.

    A chain? That's a new one on me...

    The sooner we get rid of the archaic language that just seems to be there to confuse the better. I can cope with miles per gallon and beer in pints. Let's leave it there shall we.

  28. David Cornes

    @Steve Evans and AC

    "Back in those days you could always cross the channel and hold your head and middle finger high and proud!"

    Isn't the middle finger an American vulgarity? We Brits prefer the two fingered salute, honouring our glorious archers at the Battle Of Agincourt! :-D

    "Capitulation to Euro measures should be after those brought up with British measurements are all in their pine boxes. Until then dual systems should remain"

    I was taught metric at school. Unfortunately since all the adults used imperial it all went pairshaped, and we're not stuck with a ludicrous mess we have now. I'd be muhc happier if we choose - and STICK - with one system: I've no preference with, but since metric seems to be a lot more sensibly done (all multiples of 10) then that seems the better choice to me.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    51st state

    "...sinister plan to convert this once-proud nation into nothing more than a stuffed songbird-eating satellite of the Continent..."

    insn't it funny how most of the people who object to closer integration with the rest of europe and trumpet proudly on about 'britishness' seem to be the ones most willing to get down on all fours and spread their cheeks wide for the americans?

    i'll take 'european superstate' over sycophantic 'fifty-first state' any day!

  30. Steven Knox Silver badge

    HA HA H--*sigh*

    Oh, we want to keep our old irrational measure. Please, please, Mr. Politician, stop nasty Europe from forcing a simple logical system down our throats!

    Well, I live in a country where the politicians actually listened to that drivel, and because of that mistake (and the inability of some techs to actually *read* the unit of a measurement), we've lost more than one very expensive piece of equipment, and quite a bit of respect.

    So go ahead. Cling to your "national identity" by any means necessary, even to the point of keeping measuring units which have outlived their usefulness. Keep disagreeing on the unimportant points, and soon you will join US in the new world governments' doghouse.

    And I will be the first to greet you. Sigh.

  31. Adam Cherrett

    Re: Daft unit

    I agree, the idea of naming a new (rendundant) unit for measuring area is bizarre, but it should cut down on a prevalent error amongst non-techie types (which I would like to call "Greengrocer's Dimension", and which may one day spawn a Dr Who episode). Here in France, where land areas tend to be given in m^2, a browse through any property magazine will yield dozens (sorry, Brussels, I mean tens) of houses which come with, for example, "1.2km^2 of land". It invariably turns out that they come with a much more stingy (but quicker to mow) 1200m^2.

    Mine's the one with the size expressed in Calories per mmHg per Acre.

  32. James

    16.118 Hectares and an F1 Horse and Donkey Hybrid

    Why bother standardising? What is the need? This is just irrelevant, pointless change because people have too little else to do.

    if it is not broken, why waste effort fixing it?

    Using the same standardising logic, why not all speak one language?

    Why can't both measures co-exist?

    Mile = 1,760 yards

    Square mile = 640 acres

    Simple arithmetic thereafter.

  33. Edward Rose


    Knowing the square meters in a hectare is equally useless when visualising area.

    If you know what an acre looks like, it's easy to scale to multiple acres, regardles of how many square thou there may be floating about in there (I am, BTW, holding up two fingers to you, so bugger off back to your precious Europe).

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Outragous. What's wrong with a bit of unit conversion? NASA use metric and imperial units all the time and have no trouble at all getting their Mars Orbiters into space - documented, no doubt, on proper paper sizes like "Letter", "Executive" and "Ledger".

    If those damn frenchies must use this "metric" system there are practical sites like to convert to metric from to imperial, or "freedom units" as I like to call of them.

  35. Frank Silver badge

    @Steve Evans re. Honestly

    "...When employing a plumber, Złoty = UKP / 4 "

    I think you'll find that Zloty = UKP * 4 (or thereabouts). There may be a lesson here.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All this EU intervention... enough to drive a man to drink.

    Barkeep, 568ml of your finest lager, please!

  37. Chris Cheale

    Except, of course...

    It works like this:

    UK gov: "Ok, we'll use Hectares"

    EU gov: "You only have to use them for legal documents of land registry you know"

    UK gov: "Yeah, but feck that, too much like hard work, we'll just make acres totally illegal, it's easier"

    That's the typical UK gov response to any EU legislation - even things that start off reasonably sensible in Brussels seem to be twisted into unworkable, inflammatory legislation for the UK just so that the government can complain that "Brussels made them do it".

    Of course, nobody mentions the fact that (currently) the "big 3" in Europe are us, the Germans and the French - it's not like our government doesn't have any say in the matter. The Germans help create legislation and implement it (normally) reasonably sensibly, the French help create legislation and just ignore the bits they don't like and us (as in the UK), we help create legislation but throw our toys out of the pram when things don't go totally our way and then implement a "worst possible" reading of said legislation so that we can turn around and go "seeee... told you it wuddun work/look what you maked us do... nerr nerr nerr". Cry more.

  38. regadpellagru
    Thumb Up

    @Ken Hagan

    "What's wrong with square metres? Why would one ever want more than one unit of area, except to amuse El Reg readers?

    Oh, I get it. There must be a French IT news website that has a penchant for inventing bizarre new units and "hectare" must be one of theirs. I expect it's really funny in French or something."

    LOL, read the first comment, square meters and hectares are all part of the international metric system, the one used by everyone except UK and US. Hectare is just here to spare ink and trees when dealing with big surfaces, like cubic meter is for liter. 1 ha = 10 000 m2.

    Frankly, given the huge misunderstandings you can spot from time to time in forums, in threads on cars MPG, which ends up eventually by one guy realising the other counts with *US* gallons rather than *UK* gallons (yes, they're apparently different), converting everyone to the same system is much needed. Sorry for old times.

  39. Mudslinger

    Chains and furlongs

    and from that it follows that there are 640 per sq mile

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I like Hector actually.

    The only way I can remember what an acre is, is by comparing it to half a football pitch - whether rightly or wrongly.

    But with metric it's easy 100x100 metres for the hector (sic...I'm a geordie ).

    This is strange in the fact for everthing else I prefer Imperial.

  41. Mike Richards Silver badge

    At bloody last

    In the dim and distant 1970s, when we still had proper summers, I learned land area in ares and hectares; never acres - so what's the fuss? Just the same as I only ever saw SI units in school.

    Surely the majority of people in the UK have now only learned SI and metric in school it's time to get rid of the ridiculous Imperial system once and for all?

  42. Les Matthew
    Thumb Up

    Re: Can we please keep to standard measuring units?

    "So how many London Buses can you fit in a hectare?"

    About 489 Routemasters.

  43. Jim Coe

    NotoID as well..

    Ignore this as EU is now illegal having ignoted it's own rules on new treaty(constitution).In faddition, UK is no longer a member having ratified the treatty without the consent o its people by referendum,

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Praise the EU

    That's the end of another pointless unit. Square metres for me thanks

  45. N1AK

    Tory foot shooting

    If I was Gordon Brown I would be happy to hear the Conservatives bleating on about Europe requesting the use of square kms (Hectare) rather than the out-dated Acre.

    Now when he returns from his holiday he has ample ammunition to paint the Tories as Europe hating xenophobes who would rather spend time fussing over units no one cares for than suggesting policies to deal with crime/slowing economy/education etc (his usual "no substance, just sound bites" sound bite).

    Note: I'm more likely to vote Conservative than Labour, but even I can see when the Conservatives are sticking their foot in it.

  46. A J Stiles

    Must be a slow news day

    I agree with everything Pete said.

    Perhaps the Daily Mail readers and others who bluster about "loss of sovereignty" (how does forcing people to describe things in measuring units which **actually make sense** as opposed to ancient traditions harm anyone anyway?) would prefer us to go back to using Roman numerals, too?

    What Ken Hagan said would be nice, but to give everything in m² would require the use of exponential notation.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    It's political I tell you.

    I'll stop using acres the day that they stop making computers using EBCDIC.. or possibly the day that they pry the last farthing from my dead cold hands or when they tell me I can't use the good old roman numeral system when filling out my tax returns.

    Next thing you know they'll try to make us speak this new fangled 'english' nonsense.

  48. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Who has the best number system...?

    "Just as a question - without looking it up, how many readers can actually say how many square feet (or yards, or metres) there are in an acre?.."

    I have no problems replying '4840' there - I remember it being drummed into me as a child - but I could never understand why I needed to know that. Finally, over 50 years later, I have found a use for it!

    Incidentally, I don't think anyone ever taught me how many acres there were in a square mile, so I have just worked it out - there are 640. Interesting number for a computer specialist - indicates that Imperial measurements were built on a number of bases, to allow for easy mental arithmetic, and a fundamental divisor was 2. This makes binary arithmetic often work better with imperial than metric.....

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a three step solution...

    1. Wait until they're all over here.

    2. Storm the building.

    3. Take them all out, tie them to a stake, and burn some sense into them.

    Can anyone see any flaws with this other than it will damage the environment?

  50. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: A what?

    Never mind all this, I need to be able to gauge how much 15kg is in clothes and <strike>weaponry</strike> shoes so I can pack for my hols.


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