It has come to our notice that a Mr David Johnson has been emailing local councils across Britain, accusing them of “breaking the law” by using traditional measurements, such as rods and poles, to describe gardening allotments. Over 150 councils have been contacted so far. Mr Johnson does not disclose he is not a local resident.
These emails commence under the Freedom of Information Act, asking for allotment prices, but then switch context and use deadlines under the FOI Act to force change to metric units. Some councils have removed rods and poles as a result of these emails.
We want to assure councils and allotment holders Mr Johnson is wrong. No legislation has been passed to outlaw traditional units for allotments. When drafting metric regulations in the mid-1990s, the Government exempted “transactions by specification”, of which allotment contracts are an example.
Rods, poles, perches, yards and lugs have existed for hundreds of years in Britain and we hope councils and allotment holders continue to use them for centuries to come.