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Reintroduction of imperial measurements may increase burden on enforcement, trading standards body warns

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has said it still has "significant reservations" over proposals to adopt imperial measurements in response to a Government consultation on the issue.

The CTSI added that it was concerned about an increased burden on enforcement, "which has limited capacity after years of cuts".

The foreword to the Government's consultation, Choice on Units of Measurement: Markings and Sales, said the UK has a "long and proud history of using imperial measures" and said that their use is "closely associated with our culture and language".

"Now we have left the EU, the UK can take back control of its measurement system and take decisions in the best interests of British businesses and consumers," it added.

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The consultation aims to identify how to give more choice to businesses and consumers over the units of measurement they use for trade while ensuring that measurement information remains accurate, the Government said.

Along with businesses and consumers, the consultation is seeking responses from Local Authority Trading Standards (LATS), specifically on the potential impacts on regulatory activity, including any costs or benefits.

In a statement, CTSI Chief Executive, John Herriman, said the CTSI is "pleased that the UK Government has listened to the concerns of the trading standards profession, which legally enforces weights and measures in the UK, by clarifying that any new crown marking would purely decorative and not a replacement for the UKCA or CE standards markings".

Mr Herriman added: "However, we still have significant reservations and concerns about the consideration to reintroduce imperial measurements, however limited the proposals might be. This includes potential confusion that might be created for consumers, many of whom have no understanding of Imperial Measures, because it hasn't been taught for decades.

"We also have concerns about the costs businesses will incur and the additional burden this might place on enforcement which has limited capacity after years of cuts."

His statement concluded: "Businesses groups have been particularly vocal in the last few days and we should listen to their well-informed views. It is also worth noting that traders have always had an option to use a decorative crown on pint glasses alongside existing markings but have not chosen to do so, presumably because of cost.

"We will review the proposals carefully and consult with members, and other key stakeholders, but question the wisdom of proposals that may create confusion and add expense in a cost of living crisis during which the country needs to be focused on building consumer and business confidence."

Adam Carey

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