Weights and measures

Many common consumer goods that are priced and sold by reference to units of measurement (weight, capacity measure, volume, area or length) are regulated by the Weights and Measures Act 1985 and its subordinate legislation. Regulated goods include most groceries (foods and non-foods), and many DIY goods and related products.

We offer the following services to businesses:

  • free advice on the requirements of the act in relation to goods, services or the use of equipment
  • verification service for weighing and measuring equipment which is required by the act to be tested as fit for use for trade.


We also:

  • carry out tests on production lines of pre-packed foods to check that the quantity declared on the packs is correct.
  • check-weigh goods, such as whisky, bread and coal, to ensure the declared quantity has been supplied.


Metric and Imperial Marking
Traders displaying goods for sale have the option of continuing to use imperial units as a supplementary indication of quantity alongside the primary metric indication. In other words the metric unit must be displayed but a supplementary indication in imperial units may also be displayed. The supplementary indication must not be more prominent or larger, than the primary metric indication.

Customers may still ask for goods in imperial units and traders will still be able to serve them, however the amount given will be in an equivalent of metric units.

Some imperial units remain available as the primary system of measurement for certain specific uses as follows:
  • pint for sales of draught beer or cider and for milk sold in returnable containers.
  • mile, yard, foot and inch for road traffic signs and for related distance and speed measurements.
  • foot in aircraft heights and other units used in the field of air and sea transport and rail traffic, which have been laid down in international conventions.
  • nautical mile and knot for sea and air traffic.
  • troy ounce for transactions in precious metals.
  • acre for land registration.



Trading Standards
Tel: 01592 583141 Contact Trading Standards online
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