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Weights and Measures Law UK Guide

The Weights and Measures Act 1985 provides trading standards for packaging and selling products. This section highlights key weights and measures regulations used in the United Kingdom.

Other topics covered include selling goods in 'specified quantities' and the rules on packaged goods. Use the help guide to check the use of equipment and records and the labelling packaged goods.

Units of Measurement for Selling Products

Anyone selling goods and services must be using metric measurements (e.g. grams, kilograms, millilitres, litres).

The units of measurement law applies to the sale of almost all packaged or loose goods. The products you can still sell in imperial measures are:

  • Draught beer or cider (by the pint)
  • Milk when sold in returnable containers (by the pint)
  • Precious metals (sold by troy ounce)

Weights and Measures Regulations allow imperial measurement displayed alongside the metric measurement. But, the imperial version must not stand out more, or be more noticeable, than the metric measurement.

Local Weights and Measures Authorities (or LWMA) enforce weights and measures national legislation. You should contact your nearest Trading Standards office for further information.

Note: Different rules on weights and measures apply in Northern Ireland. Further information is available in the Weights and Measures (Packaged Goods) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011.


Specified Quantities

The selling of certain goods must take place in fixed sizes called ‘specified quantities’. But, the specified quantities regulations for selling alcohol differ depending on whether it’s sold by the glass or the bottle.

Packaged Goods

There are severe penalties for failing to follow Packaged Goods Regulations in the United Kingdom. Check out the two different systems used to pack products (i.e. minimum and average).

Equipment and Records

The are few rules on what equipment and records you use to weigh or measure packaged products. But, Trading Standards check the weights and measures of goods on production lines to ensure accuracy.

Labelling Packaged Goods

The labelling of packaged goods falls under rules according to weights and measures regulations. Other specific rules apply when using the e mark or exporting to non-EEA countries.

Weights and Measures Law in United Kingdom