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Weights and measures

Trading standards enforce laws that deal with legal metrology, known as ‘weights and measures’. 

Officers can inspect and test equipment on trade premises and can prohibit items from use where they are found to be inaccurate or unapproved.

Most trade weighing and measuring equipment needs to be of an approved type and checked for accuracy before it's first put into use. Some examples include:

  • petrol and diesel pumps
  • measures for alcoholic drinks and certain glasses used for beer, cider and wine in pubs and licensed premises
  • weighing equipment in shops, wholesalers and some manufacturing and production sites
  • weighbridges at scrap metal and waste transfer stations
  • length measures at fabric suppliers or building and timber merchants

In addition, bread and most packaged goods sold by weight, volume or number are also subject to weights and measures laws. Checks can be done at factories, importers, wholesalers and retailers to ensure that quantities are accurate.

It is an offence to use equipment that is inaccurate or not of an approved type when it is required to be. It is also an offence to sell goods that are short weight or do not meet the average quantity requirements where applicable.

Certain goods sold loose must be sold by weight, volume, length or number and they must be priced per kilogram or per unit etc. For example, meat, fish and fruit and vegetables. This is to enable customers to compare value and ensure fair trading.

Further information

If you need trade advice on weights and measures requirements, contact us or visit the business companion website.

Page last updated: 08 February 2023

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