Why are ambulances going to be painted yellow

01:00 Wed 06th Mar 2002 |

asks admason:
British ambulances have been white with yellow and green markings for 50 years, but now they're turning yellow to bring them in line with the rest of Europe. The first ambulance has been resprayed and is now in service - for the Royal Berkshire Ambulance NHS Trust.

Q. Why is is happening at all
The idea is that, if all ambulances are the same colour, they will be recognisable in any European country. That will make travelling safer for paramedic crews as well as other motorists and pedestrians.

Q. Why yellow
The European Committee for Standardisation, which promotes voluntary technical harmonisation of products and services in Europe, carried out research all over the continent. Its findings indicated that it was extremely important that emergency services' vehicles were recognised instantly anywhere.

Tests showed that the human eye's response to colour reached a peak - called 'peak human eye response' - with the colour Euro Yellow RAL 1016. As a result, ambulance leaders from all over Europe voted that particular shade of yellow as they colour they'd all use.

Q. Is everyone happy about this
No. Conservative front bencher and Eurosceptic MP Bill Cash dismissed the move as pointless and condemned it as simply another attempt to standardise everything across Europe. He said, 'This obsessive mania for uniformity must not be allowed to dictate to us how we run our emergency services. It's just completely unnecessary. Everybody knows what our ambulances look like and they have got used to them over many, many years.'

Q. What colour were ambulances in Europe before this
They varied. In France, they're red, for example. However, foreign tourists always mistake them for fire engines.

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