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EU saves the pint

Published:  23 July, 2008

Pints have been saved, with the European Commission set to confirm it will continue to allow the UK to use imperial measurements.

The Commission is proposing abandoning its attempt to force the UK to give up pints, pounds, ounces and miles for metric equivalents, in what has been seen as a victory for the "metric martyrs".

The UK had been due to set a date for phasing out all imperial measurements within three years, ending the serving of pints of beer in the nation's pubs. Every road sign in Britain also would have had to be changed from miles to kilometres.

Pints can continue be used as a measurement for draught beer, cider and bottles of milk, and pounds and ounces can be used alongside grams and kilograms for goods sold loose. Miles can also be used on road signs

Industry Commissioner Gnter Verheugen made the decision to back down, saying the UK's fight to retain imperial measurements did not obstruct European trade and that EU had made itself unpopular on an issue that didn't really matter.

"I want to bring to an end a bitter, bitter battle that has lasted for decades and which, in my view, is completely pointless," he said.

Traditional market traders rallied against the movement, started in 2000, when it became illegal to use only imperial measurements when selling goods in bulk.