UK Government Maintains Status Quo on Imperial Measures

UK Government Maintains Status Quo on Imperial Measures: What You Need to Know

01 January 2024

In June 2022, the UK government initiated a consultation on proposals to increase the use of imperial measures for trade. After careful consideration and significant public feedback, the government has decided not to make any changes at this time. Over 80% of respondents to the consultation expressed the view that the existing system should be maintained.

In response to the consultation, the government has issued guidance to clarify what businesses can do under existing legislation. The key points of this guidance are as follows:

  • Voluntary Use of Imperial Units: Businesses can voluntarily use imperial units when selling packaged or loose goods. However, they must also display a metric measurement alongside. The imperial measurement must be less prominent than the metric measurement and expressed in characters no larger than the metric indicator.
  • Products Allowed to be Sold Solely in Imperial Measures: The only products businesses can sell solely in imperial measures are draught beer or cider by pint, milk in returnable containers by pint, and precious metals by troy ounce.

While the government has decided to maintain the existing law and issue the mentioned guidance, it has also announced a more comprehensive review of metrology legislation. This review aligns with the broader commitment to identify opportunities for reform of Retained EU Law, a consequence of regulations implemented during the UK’s membership in the EU.

As part of this review, the government intends to update the specified sizes in which prepacked still and sparkling wine can be sold. The proposal includes allowing 500ml and 200ml sizes, and introduces a new 568ml ‘pint’ quantity. The mention of the ‘pint’ quantity has garnered attention in the UK press.

For more detailed information on the UK government’s decision and the guidance provided, you can refer to the consultation response and guidance documents available on the official government website:

Consultation Response

Guidance on Markings and Sales


While the UK government has opted to maintain the status quo regarding imperial measures, the ongoing review of metrology legislation suggests potential changes in the future. Stay informed, and watch this space for updates.

You can also learn more about the intricacies of these decisions and their impact on your industry by reading our previous article on the matter: The Return of Imperial Measures: What You Need to Know.

If you have further questions or want to delve deeper into the implications for your business, don’t hesitate to contact NMi for expert guidance on ensuring compliance with evolving regulations. 

Adrian Rudd - UKCA

Adrian Rudd

NMi UK Manager