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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.


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.

For more information contact

Trading Standards
Tel: 01592 583141 Contact Trading Standards online
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