Weights & measures

It has been estimated that, in the UK, a billion pounds worth of goods are traded at retail level each year.  However, do you ever question whether or not you can have confidence in your purchase?

All goods, whether pre-packed or not, should be of the correct weight or measure stated on the packaging.  Part of the council's job is to ensure that the public receive the correct amount of any product they buy.

Almost all goods today are sold with some reference to either its weight or measure, whether by the pint, litre, gram or metre.  This includes everyday items such as bread, petrol, beer, clothing material, sand or anything else you can think of.

Trading Standards enforce a complex set of regulations designed to ensure that the public and businesses can have confidence in their purchases and ensures fair competition.

We do this by:

  • verifying that weighing and measuring equipment is initially accurate
  • routinely visiting businesses and checking weighing and measuring equipment
  • checking products already in the shops
  • reacting to complaints of short measure

If you think you have received a short measure from a business in Tower Hamlets, and would like further information or an information pack, please contact us.

The law relating to weights and measures specifies that:

  • security of uniform system of units of weights and measures should be established
  • controls should be placed over weighing and measuring equipment in use for trade
  • the public should be protected against short quantity in the sale of goods

The system of weights and measures has developed through:

  • legal frameworks
  • adequate and even handed enforcement
  • technological advances in equipment

There are a vast range of laws governing weights and measures; as technology, numbers and variety of goods have increased so has legislation. There is also a system of European Community approval removing technical barriers to trade.

Inspectors of Weights and Measures (or Trading Standards Officers as they are more commonly known) visit trade premises and carry out inspections and verification of weighing and measuring equipment.

Examples include counter weighing machines, weighbridges, weights, petrol pumps, spirit measuring instruments, wine and beer glasses, metre measures to name some common examples.  Pre-packed goods, breads, textiles and a huge amount of other items and goods are tested to ensure correct weight or measure.

Further information and advice from trading standards on weights and measures


Tower Hamlets Trading Standards Service

Tower Hamlets Town Hall
160 Whitechapel Road
E1 1BJ

Opening hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Tel: 020 7364 5000

Email: tradingstandards@towerhamlets.gov.uk


Other useful information can be obtained from the following websites: