IT has come to our notice that a David Johnson is emailing local councils across Britain, accusing them of breaking the law by using traditional measurements such as rods and poles to describe gardening allotments.

Mr Johnson’s emails start under the Freedom of Information Act, asking for allotment prices, but then switch context and use deadlines under the FOI Act to force a change to metric units. Some councils have removed rods as a result of these emails.

We want to assure councils and allotment holders that 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 that councils and allotment holders continue to use them for centuries to come.

JOHN GARDNER Director, British Weights and Measures Association