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 …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Richard
    Paris Hilton

    118000 Chains to the hogshead....

    .. is the fuel efficiency of my car. Who can be bothered translating that into something readable?

    As for the acre, i only know how much an acre is because of the video to Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall. And given it seems to be based on two other largly obsolete Imperial Units, it's about time we ditched all of them. Imperial units are all variables and are just annoying and illogical.

    Paris coz she likes her chains and hogsheads.

  2. John H Woods Silver badge

    Keep the ounce.

    Sometimes certain units are more convenient. Why couldn't we just redefine the acre as being exactly 40% of a hectare and be done with it? Similarly, we should have redefined the ounce as exactly 25g, a pound as exactly 500g, and kept both measurements. Not just for patriotic nostalgia but for converience. For instance, the metric system absolutely sucks for cooking with, as 1kg is too big for anything but potatoes and large joints of meat, and 1g is too small for anything except salt and spices.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    @Sarah Bee

    In my experience 15 kilos equals everything you want to bring minus your favorite top and half of your favorite pair of shoes.

  4. Ioda


    A new unit for El Reg's standards?

    The definition of a bovate can be found here:

  5. Matt Eagles

    Trivia contest

    "Once again this weak Labour Government has meekly given up yet another of Britain's rights to Brussels. They need to think again and insist that we must keep our right to use our ancient traditional measure of land if we wish."

    This type of pointlessness from the Tories is the reason we have had this current government for so long.

  6. John Robson Silver badge

    Stop this relentless march to base10

    Go base 12, it's then easily divisible by 2,3 and 4 the three numbers I use most often when dividing a measurement, the only vaguely challenging calculation you are likely to want to do in your head.

    Occasionally I'll divide the 10m boundary (less 3" for the end fence post) by 6'3" to work out how many fence panels I need - but there's nothing difficult about that.

  7. gbyrne
    Paris Hilton

    Metric so easy..

    Mili 1/1000th

    Centi 1/100th

    Deci 1/10th


    Deca X 10

    Hecta X 100

    Kilo X 1000

    In the case of hectare - this is 100m x 100m (= 10,000 sq.m) as the unit is based on metres.

    e.g. GRAM (unit of weight) - miligram (small)...kilogram (large).

    Now, it is perfectly possible to request a Hectagram of bon-bons should one be so inclined.

    Paris, cause there's not a kilo to spare on her!


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well a hogshead is 54 gallons so no difficulty there (my father was a club steward) and the conversion from chains is already in the previous messages so I don't see the difficulty.

  9. Mark

    @John H Woods

    And that's exactly why we have so many units and why the metric system (with only one unit, hence the unsurprising result that converting between the same unit is very easy).

    a) cooking teaspoon/tablespoon is a reasonable fraction of a fluid ounce.

    b) pints useful for larger liquids (and about as much as you'd like to drink in one container).

    Litre sucks for the teaspoon. And only bulk resellers for retail care how many fl. oz. in a pint/gallon/barrel.

    a) Pounds for joints of meat.

    b) oz for smaller ingredients.

    c) "small onion"/"large carrot" isn't metric, but we see them a lot.

    See how this works, people?

    People are weighed in pounds and stones. But nobody cares how many oz is in a stone (nor a hundredweight), so uneven conversion factors is a red herring. It's only useful in maths classes to show how to use common factors and uneven rational fractions. And in those cases, guess what? Metric sucks donkey balls there.

    However, when interoperating with others, a consistent measurement system *between the two entities* is needed and since most people have used the metric, donkey-ball-sucking though it is, we should use metric in interoperability (legal especially).

  10. Richard Gadsden
    Paris Hilton

    I was taught

    And therefore it's probably wrong, that an acre is the area that can be ploughed by one team of oxen in a day. The strip of land is one furrow-long (furlong) long, which is how far the oxen can plough until they need a rest, then you turn them around and plough the next furrow. By the end of the day, the width of the area you've ploughed is a chain, so the whole strip is one acre.

    So, anyone still ploughing a field with teams of oxen has a legitimate complaint that the hectares are going to be a problem. Rest of you, keep your gobs shut.

    Paris, cos she likes having her fields ploughed.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Nice move

    Thank goodness we are one step closer to standardisation, and pity the Conservatives try to score some stupid petty points by shouting against it. They'll figure that there are enough stupid old folk out there who rant against any change at all, that they'll score a few extra votes.

    I just want the day we get the Euro to hurry up and arrive. I have a small business and need a Euro account - but for taking credit cards I would be charged double percentage to take them in Euros. Life is a lot harder trying to do business in UK - stupid Stirling.

  12. Mark

    Re: I like Hector actually.

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

    So can you visualise what 100m as a length is? No, I bet you can't. So all you've remembered is one number: 100c x 100m is a hectare. Hell, it might as well be 32 floos by 32 floos.

    PS: the football field varies a LOT.

  13. P. Lee Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    @ Pete

    I care!

    There are a few reasons why:

    Hectares aren't that useful unless all your original land measurements were in metres - you'll still have to do all that maths to convert to the new system. A nice easy 10k m/sq is nice if that's how your land is divided up - if all your plots are 0.4047ha and you want to buy 8 of them, I suspect you'll still need your calculator. Units of measurement are most useful if they reflect lots of things in the real world. GCSE Maths is not the the only use for numbers.

    Why do hectares need to be used in the UK? It isn't much of a trade issue - I can't see lots of french people buying acres of land on ebay not really knowing what they are getting because they only know hectares. Not many people will be buying up acres in the UK and putting them on supermarket shelves in France.

    Why is there a need to make all measurements multiples of 10? Perhaps there is some benefit in having the general populace doing some more complex mental arithmetic than dividing by 10 on a regular basis.

    When an organisation bent on "an ever-closer union" starts rubbing out differences of great antiquity embedded in a culture I begin to suspect a social-engineering project rather than anything useful. Erasing the memory of historical events or culture is usually the work of dictators of the worst kind.

    Homogeneity is really boring. Even property-developers with their soul-destroying identical mini-houses don't tend to put them in "easy" grids. Blocks of flats are the easiest to use, build, most efficient housing-design available. That doesn't make them good. Efficiency is not the most important aspect of life.

    If you want people to study history, to learn about the mistakes of the past (and therefore learn from them) it doesn't help by making it really boring. Which would you rather study, the history of the various measurements such as poles, perches, acres, yards etc., or the history of the metric system? The metric system is no doubt easier if you are being tested, but rather less useful at holding attention.

    Paris, because "hectares of flesh" just doesn't sound right and she knows it.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Re: NotoID as well..

    'Jim Coe' wrote: "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,"

    You ARE the Twat-o-Tron*, and I claim my 5 pounds!

    * -

  15. G R Goslin

    To be truly pedantic

    To really nitpick.

    The hectare is merely a multiple of the 'are' (100 sq metres). and should not be classed as the base unit. Since the centiare is a hundredth of an 'are'. I suppose the square metre isn't a base unit either. So the unit of area is an area of ground enclosed within a square with sides of 100 metres. No other unit is needed. Why not take that back to the csars of the EU for comment

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Rob Kirtin

    Thanks mate. You got that right to it there.

    Paris, 'cause she can fix all that for you.

  17. Richard

    @ Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, but whose gallon am i talking about?

  18. Steve Babb
    IT Angle


    The UK railways still measure in chains on the ground and metres in the overhead lines, although the West Coast Main Line is denoted in both miles and kilometres (it changes about half way between London and Preston).

    IT angle? Try coding that into a centralised work managements system and asset database.

  19. Echowitch

    Miles to Kilometres

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

    Tsk tsk thats 1.6 not 1.5

    1600 metres AKA 1.6 km = 1 mile

  20. Mark

    @Richard Gadsden

    If you're tilling a field with a tractor, each time you turn around, you are wasting the land as wide as your turning circle at two ends of your plot.

    So why is a hectare in a square measurement? Maximum waste!

  21. Mark

    Re: Metric so easy..

    How about the milliyard? The Kiloyard?

    Of COURSE your conversion is going to be easy when it's converting the length of the metre to ... uh... the length of a metre.

    When you talk of the distance to the next town as "3.2 km", do you CARE that there are a thousand metres in a kilometre? No, because you don't measure such distances accurately. What if the distance to another town about 60% further away? "3.2 miles". Coo. I didn't need to use "3 miles, a furlong, sixteen yards, one foot six inches", did I? No, just used "3.2 miles".

    So the overall difference is fuck all.

  22. Mad Mike


    Changing from one set of units to another is really stupid. If everything within a country is measured in one set of units, everything is setup for that. The only people that really need to worry about conversion are those in import/export and people on holiday. No big deal.

    Then, you attempt to change units and chaos ensues. People don't understand the difference (whether old or young) and start making mistakes everywhere. Houses that were built in imperial have to accept doors, windows etc. etc. built around the metric system. Nothing really fits anymore. My house was built with 1/2inch, 1inch, 2inch etc.etc. wood. Can I now get that? In some cases yes, but not all. None of my replacement doors are the same thickness. Can you get 12.5mm (ish) timber? No. Pain in the a**e.

    It doesn't matter what the units are provided they are consistent within a country. As someone said earlier, why not choose one language and standardise on that? That would be far easier for international trade etc.etc. Why not get rid of everything that makes people different until we amalgamate into a single standardised mass. God, how boring would that be. Don't these people understand that everyone being different is what makes things good.

  23. Mycho Silver badge


    That's why you then till the two ends of the fields again crosswise.

    Or did the EU ban that too while I was off playing darts?

  24. Thomas Jerome

    arrowed at Agincourt

    Sodding Eurocrats. They'll be wanting us to adopt Metric Time next. They've already started on our traffic wardens:

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

    Some of these people are in IT because they use their brain for learning new useful things, and for applying the numerous skills they already have, not for coping with the overthrow perfectly good existing systems for the heck of it. Anyone who patronisingly suggests one's internal framework of the world is easily changed when older presumably hasn't yet reached the age when it becomes clear it doesn't: but if they are lucky, they may do someday.

  26. A J Stiles

    Why base 12?

    What exactly is so important about being able to divide things by 3 or 4? I've never understood this objection to the metric system. It's not as though we haven't got a convenient way of expressing fractions .....

    Everything you're ever going to measure is going to be limited to the precision of the measuring equipment you are using. Although you might want a third of a kilogram, your scales might only read to the nearest 10 grams. In which case, you'll just have to make do with 330 grams.

    Whereas a third of a pound is ..... oh, wait.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Oblivion awaits...

    For all you imperialtards moaning about the 'foreign' measurements - don't you realise that the metric system was first proposed by an Englishman?

    As for Fahrenheit, how can you defend a scale that is based on the 2 reference points of: 1) how cold the 1708-1709 winter was it was in Poland; and 2) how warm it was inside Gabriel Fahrenheits arse?

  28. Mark


    No, if you do that, you'll impact the soil at the edges. Your rows are also at 90degrees to the rest of the field, making harvesting difficult unless you use human effort rather than a machine.

  29. Barry Zubel

    40 rods to the hogshead

    and that's the way I likes it,

  30. Charles Silver badge


    Just for the record, the kiloyard is an actually-used-in-real-life measurement. US Navy submarines use this to measure distances while underwater (because their other units are imperial and mile is probably too long for measurement of relatively-slow-moving vessels like submerged subs).

  31. Philip Kroker
    Thumb Down

    Screwed up measures

    You Brits are whinging about dual systems, in Canada it's no different. Officially we are a metric country, yet when we build a house we use feet and inches because all lumber is still produced in imperial dimensions. When we cook most cookbooks will only give us imperial directions and temps, that goodness our ovens for the most part still don't have a temp display in celsius. All farmland is still sold in acres, my dad has a quarter section, bugger all if I know how many hectares that is. Ask me how tall I am I'll tell you in feet and inches, weight in pounds, etc. The only time I use metric is when I'm driving or going to the store for food and I'm not even 30.

  32. John

    imperial into metric doesn't go

    As your metric is rounded down. Use of these (imperial) measurements will go on anyway. I was educated using metric back in the 70's, but imperial measures were still being used at the time so I used them instead. I remember going to the tripe shop to buy a 1/4lb of potted beef for me mum. Now I would buy 250g (1/4 kg) of the stuff which would cost me more. If you're not getting 28g to your ounce (often rounded down to 25g) you're getting ripped off! In the USA it's different again as pints are only 475ml whereas in old England they are 568ml. Mine's the 42in one.

  33. Steve Foster

    Ok, how the *

    do I convert "gas mark 5" to *anything*?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EU No You Don't

    All these changes. Its their prerogative of course. But it is but a decree, and not an absolute one.

    Some will welcome it, most won't be bothered or affected, others will still refer to acres, as well as miles, feet, inches, yards and pints! And regardless.

    Me included.

    Whilst devotees of the metric system will prefer and champion that.

    Its down to choice. But it seems to have become a political issue!

  35. Jim Coe

    Just wait........

    Until they abolish miles =="sorry Officer I thought it meant 80 miles per hour!"

    Severe weather warning--winds gusting up to 100 (km/hr)

    Petrol is now 1,80 a litre (euros)

    112,5 gram beefburger

    "This the BBC 20.00 News " (standard european time)

    And what will they call a furrow? Not a bloody French one I hope!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Dazed and Confused, et al

    It's metRE for pete's sake.

    A meter is for measurING.

    A metre is a measureMENT.

  37. Karl H

    decimal is so 20th century and human we need HEXADECIMAL

    screw the decimal system , when Arnie's team of terminating cyborgs take over planet earth everything will be hexadecimalised.

    We could start now, and give us humans a slight chance of being able to keep up with them .

    And with a bit of genetic engineering we could all grow an extra 3 digits per hand, to stop the dissenters from saying " I only have ten fingers " .

    Plus whilst we are at hexadecimalising everything , could we have 64 seconds in a minute, 64 minutes in an hour and 16 hours in a day , 16 months in a year ( 13 months with 23 days and 3 months with 22 days, and leap year days add as the existing gregorian calendar )

    just think how dividing by 2 , 4 , 8 , 16 will be made SO easy !! (okay dividing by 10 will be messy , but then you can't have everything )

    vote for me , before the machines force us , and I'll give humanity a head start !

  38. Charlie van Becelaere

    Poking along

    at ± 48000 furlongs per firkin, I feel I'm doing my part to reduce the overuse of fossil fuels, of course, at 8 cm/cc, I may be making more noise than is really justified.

  39. Nigel

    Is it useful?

    I'm all in favour of keeping everyday units that are easy to visualize or simply in everyday use: inches, feet, pounds, pints. Everyday conversion is easy anyway. A kilo is a heavy two pounds. A litre is a small two pints. Half a litre is the beer in a rim glass with a Northern-type head on it. A ton of muck is much the same as a tonne of muck. A foot about the same as a metric foot which is 30cm (and timber is supplied in, yes, metric feet, not metres). Type is still measured in points not mm, and a point is not exactly 1/72 of an inch. Printer pixels are still 1/600 or 1/1200 inch. Gigabytes are stlll not 2**30 bytes. Electricity is still sold in kilowatt-hours, not MegaJoules. Air conditioning is still measured in British Thermal Units per hour, wall insulation in BTUs per square meter per hour(!), and duvets in togs(!!). Anyone care to tell us what a tog might be, apart from a sensible unit to rate a duvet in?

    I'm not sure an acre is an everyday unit, although I'm not a farmer. A hectare is 100 metres square which is pretty easy to visualize. If one prefers yards it's about 110 yards square, or 1/16 of a mile square (which is neat in binary).

  40. Karl H

    to people commenting here about "archaic" language, and conventions

    well what do you think irregular verbs are ?

    why don't we scrap all irregularities in language and have a predictable easy system. so for starters , conjugating the verb "to be" in the present tense...

    i is

    you is

    he is

    you (plural) is

    we is

    they is

    and in the simple past :

    i was

    you was

    he was

    we was

    you (plural) was

    they was

    nice and regular, just think how easy it will be to teach it to the kids !!!!

    ( or might we just lose the art of being a human being )

  41. donc

    A Title

    The two systems are built around different principles, SI (proper SI, in multiples of 1000, etc) is ideal for scientific calculations but for everyday use imperial units are far more flexible and useful (pounds, ounces, pints, feet, inches, etc).

    I use both sets for work (work in the aviation industry) and though I was tought in SI units I have a better understanding of what I am dealing with when I think in Imperial. Odd but it works for me...

  42. Xepharian

    Jobs for the boys

    It seems to me that, like so many things these days, it's just another waste of public money for a bunch of useless tits to make a "decision" over.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Lets have a measuring contest....ft-lbs, newton-bobs, joules, erg, watt, calorie, Calorie, inch.....

    What is the prime standard for a meter--Wavelength of orange light. That is orange without calories, or just not-so dark beer?

    Paris, because she knows we lie about size anyway.

  44. The Prevaricator

    nothing wrong with hectares

    How far can a (fast) man run in ten seconds? Now imagine length in two directions at right angles to each other, and there is you hectare.

    I thank you.

  45. Lennart Sorensen

    Re: Screwed up measures

    Well yes here in Canada we do have the disadvantage of living next to the US and having a significant portion of the population being descendants of the Brits and hence equally stubborn.

    I for one work only in metric and hate having to do all the stupid conversions because some other people insist on using stupid units. of course I was born in Denmark where even my grandparents seem to have forgotten how to work in anything other than metric. You see the only issue with going to metric is that you have to do a bit of learning. Fortunately for the rest of the world, people there believe in learning new things once in a while and giving new ideas a chance to prove their benefits.

    All is not lost for the English speaking world, however, given India seems to be doing just fine with metric and easily outnumber the rest of us combined.

  46. King TuT

    Good riddance.

    Don't know anyone who can visual the size on an acre, we're better off with the hectare makes much more sense.

    Philip Kroker: In the UK ovens have been in degrees C for as long as I remember, surprised with Canada being behind there.

  47. King TuT

    Metric, come on let our children have a system that makes sense.

    As for those who go on about British measures, well pounds and ounces came from France and distances from Italy.

    1864 - Weights and Measures Act legalises metric units only for 'contracts and dealings'.

    1896 - Weights and Measures (Metric System) Act legalises metric system for all purposes, but does not make it compulsory.

    1904 - House of Lords votes for compulsory change to metric system, but Bill fails in House of Commons.

    1965 - At the request of industry. President of Board of Trade announces that the metric system will be adopted with a target of completion within 10 years (i.e. 1975). Commonwealth and other countries decide to follow Britain's example.

  48. aeromorph


    I don't know how you can defend Celsius since ice melts at 0.01 °C and boils at 99.974 °C at 1 ATM not to mention that absolute zero is −273.15 °C (0.15 degree shifted off of Kelvin). Never mind that few live at exactly 1 ATM and even fewer boil pure water.

    Kelvin is the only sane unit of measure (well Rankine if you prefer Fahrenheit degrees).

    And don't you people dare talk about taking our letter sized paper. A4 is weird.

  49. Sam Tana


    A decision was made in 1965 to adopt the metric system but no government has ever had the guts to completely get rid of the old Imperial system so we have adopted a weird half-and-half scale of our own. It's not Imperial, and it's not Metric. It's Britric, it's perfectly simple, and it works like this...

    Legally, you can only buy fuel or fizzy drinks in litres, but draught cider or beer must be sold in pints. If the bottle is returnable we buy milk in pints. If the bottle is non-returnable, we buy milk in litres.

    We weigh sugar in kilograms, precious metals in troy ounces and ourselves in stones. We measure all goods sold by length in centimetres and metres ... and then transport those goods on roads measured in yards and miles.

    When the weather is hot we talk in Fahrenheit, because the number is higher and sounds more impressive: "Wow, it was 86 degrees today!" When the weather is cold we talk in Centigrade, because the number is lower and sounds more impressive: "Wow, it's -4 degrees today!"

    Want to make a hamburger? You'll need to ask your butcher for 113.398093 grams of beef so you can make a quarter-pounder. Cake recipes will talk about grams of dry goods, and fluid ounces of liquid.

    Ships sail in knots, racehorses run over furlongs, football pitches are measured in yards and rugby pitches are measured in metres. Land is often advertised by the hectare (but it's officially registered in acres - at least until now) and if you phone up to order "a ton" of something, you might get a ton, a tun or a tonne!

    Then again, we also use the Standard Comparative Index, by which things that are difficult to imagine are compared to things slightly more easy to imagine. It runs: pinhead, fingernail, matchbox, house brick, a football, a human man, family car, double decker bus, Jumbo Jet, Belgium - as in "they have destroyed an area of rainforest the size of Belgium." This is despite the fact that no-one from Britain has a clue how big Belgium is. An alternative to Belgium is Wales, but no-one who isn't from Britain has a clue how big Wales is.

    Somehow, it all works. So, will Britain ever go the full nine yards (8.23 metres) and go completely metric? Never! It would be far too confusing...

  50. Alphabet Soup


    A4 is very logical, not weird!

    It's based on A0 (1 m^2) and the ratio of the sides means that it doesn't change shape when you fold it across the long axis. Note sure if there's an imperial equivalent.

    As we're all in IT isn't it important to maintain a range of standards that we can choose from?

    Nick (Just give me a British pint, not the range of beer-glass sizes each state here in Oz has ...)

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019