Traders must weigh and measure goods accurately. There are many legal controls covering all aspects of weighing and measuring.

The City Council's Trading Standards Service as the weights and measures authority in the city regularly provides advice and guidance to businesses in Newcastle upon Tyne in respect of weights and measures legislation. The Service conducts visits and inspections to businesses to test and verify weighing and measuring equipment used in serving or packing goods.

Our Weights and Measures Inspectors can test a whole variety of equipment from the humble shop scale to fuel pumps at a filling station.

Calibration Laboratory and Weight Hire

In general, most types of weighing or measuring equipment must be tested and verified as correct before it can be used for trade purposes, either for the first time when new or after repair. Our Joint Metrology Laboratory which is hosted by Gateshead Council on behalf of the five former Tyne and Wear authorities, acts as a notified body under the Non-Automatic Weighing Instruments (EEC Requirements) Regulations 2000.

Go to Metrology Laboratory

What the Legislation says 

All equipment used for determining the quantity of goods in a transaction must be legally approved. This includes shop scales, petrol pumps, pub optics and measuring tapes.

Most equipment must carry one of the following marks of approval:

  • a crown stamp
  • a European 'e' stamp
  • a European green sticker

These marks are normally applied by Trading Standards officers and show that the equipment has been tested and found to be accurate.

Trading Standards officers have a duty to inspect equipment on trade premises. Inaccurate equipment will usually be marked with a six pointed star and must not be used again until it has been repaired, retested and restamped.

Where minor inaccuracies are involved, the officer may instead issue a written notice requiring the equipment to be repaired within a specified period. You may continue to use the equipment during this period.

In most transactions the quantity of goods involved must be made known to the buyer. Most prepacked goods will be already labelled with their quantity. In the case of loose goods, they can be weighed or measured in the presence of the customer. The equipment used should be clearly visible to the customer.

  • It is illegal to use weighing and measuring equipment in an incorrect or fraudulent way,
  • It is illegal to give short weight or measure,
  • It is illegal, when determining the quantity of non-prepacked goods, to use any equipment which does not carry one of the three marks of approval,
  • If you pre-pack goods in fixed quantities, you must use approved equipment. You must also carry out adequate quantity checks and keep written records in most cases.
  • If you have weighing and measuring equipment which the public pay to use, e.g. a weighbridge, it can only be operated by a person holding a certificate of competence issued by a Chief Inspector of Weights and Measures. Records of all such public weighing and measuring must be retained for inspection for not less than two years. These requirements do not apply to person weighing machines. 

See Weighbridge Operator Licence

Other legal requirements cover specific goods in respect of:

  • labelling and marking
  • quantity
  • documentation
  • price indication

How to comply with the law 

  • Ensure your weighing and measuring equipment is appropriate for the goods you sell, and is suitably located,
  • Buy equipment from reputable suppliers,
  • Regularly check that the equipment is located in a suitable place  and is clean and working correctly,
  • Train all employees to use all weighing and measuring equipment correctly,
  • Make sure you know what, if any, special requirements apply to the goods you sell. 
  • Ensure all your weighing and measuring equipment is clean and regularly maintained
  • Ensure your equipment is approved and bears any stamps or stickers that are required
  • Ensure all your staff are supervised adequately

Please Remember the United Kingdom is now using the metric system

Guidance Notes

Business Service Plan

To access a copy of our current Business Service Plan go our Business Service Plan webpage.

Section 70 Reports

To see the local weights and measures reports as published nationally by Regulatory Delivery go to Report 2013-2014 (pdf 2.26 mb) and Report 2014-2015 (pdf 2.59 mb)

For further information please contact the Trading Standards Service, Directorate of Operations and Regulatory Services, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH.
Phone: 0191 2116121

Page last updated: 
2 October 2018
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