How the EU Aims to Kill off MacAdam, Colossus of Roads

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), September 23, 2007 | Go to article overview

How the EU Aims to Kill off MacAdam, Colossus of Roads


Byline: Vic Rodrick

HE was the Scottish engineer whose invention put the world on the roadto better transport.

But the memory of John Loudon MacAdam, the Colossus of Roads after whom tarmacis named, seems on the road to nowhere.

Brussels bureaucrats are seeking to ban the technical term MacAdam fromofficial documents across Europe in a bid to harmonise cross-border trade.

Instead, the EC officials want all references to tarmac or tarma-cadam to bereplaced by the term asphalt concrete.

When the new legislation comes into force, it will be illegal for councils androads contractors to refer directly to the road surface bearing the name of itsAyrshire-born inventor.

Last night Jamie McGrigor MSP, Scottish Tory spokesman for Culture and Tourism,branded the decision a national insult.

He said: To simply rip MacAdams name out of the history books is crassstupidity and insulting to Scotland. Its ridiculous that they should agree tobanish tarmacadam when the man after whom it is called left his indelible markall over the globe.

Councillor Douglas Reid, leader of East Ayrshire Council, added: We should beallowed to embrace our history and recognise a Scot whose innovative workchanged the world.

Born in 1756, John MacAdam earned the nickname Tar after working in aropeworks, where bitumen-treated cables were made.

After emigrating to make his fortune in the US, the Scot returned home andspent years developing the perfect road to replace the boggy, potholed tracksof his time.

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