Weights & measures legislation
The Weights and Measures Act
NMO is responsible for the Weights and Measures Act 1985 which is the main piece of legislation covering weights and measures controls in the UK. The Act provides a framework for the regulation of transactions based on quantity, including the type and manner of quantity information to be provided, the quantities which may be sold and the units of measurement to be used and it provides powers to regulate measuring equipment used for trade.
Our role is to ensure that the legislation is appropriate and effective and continues to work for consumers, retailers, business and enforcers. We provide guidance to businesses and local authorities, including opinions on particular aspects of the legislation though our weights and measures bulletins.
The purpose of regulating weights and measures is to ensure that consumers have the information on quantity that they need to make informed purchasing decisions and that they can be confident that when they make a purchase they are not being sold short weight or measure. It also protects businesses from unscrupulous competitors.
In the UK most transactions in goods by weight or measure are regulated by the Weights and Measures Act 1985 or through secondary legislation, including the Weights and Measures (Packaged Goods) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/659). Read the Packaged Goods Regulations or a hard copy can be ordered from The Stationery Office by visiting or by calling 0870 600 5522.
Who does what
In April 2007 responsibility for all weights and measures issues passed to the National Measurement Office (NMO) including policy on those provisions of the Weights and Measures Act aimed at:
1. protecting the consumer against being sold shortweight;
2. providing consumers with information about the weight or volume of goods before they commit themselves to a purchase. NMO also took over the sponsorship of the Hallmarking Council.
Businesses or members of the public who have queries or complaints regarding the law on weights and measures should visit the Consumer Direct website for more information or telephone 08454 04 05 06. Consumers in Northern Ireland should contact Consumer line on 0300 123 6262.
Equipment regulation by category
If you visit the equipment regulation section of our website you can read and download the relevant documents relating to the weights and measures equipment you are interested in.
Weights and Measures bulletins
Read our latest weights and measures bulletins.