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The Units of Measurement Regulations 1994

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Explanatory Note

(This note is not part of the Regulations)

These Regulations implement the amendments made by Council Directive 89/617/EEC (OJ No. L357, 7.12.89, p.28) to Council Directive 80/181/EEC (OJ No. L39, 15.2.80, p.40) (“the Directive”) which relates to the use of units of measurement for economic, public health, public safety or administrative purposes (“the specified circumstances”).

They end, in general, the authorised use, in the specified circumstances, of the imperial units of measurement most commonly used to describe length, area, volume and mass (such as the yard, pint and pound) after 30th September 1995. They do however provide certain exceptions which permit the continued use of these imperial units for specific purposes beyond that date. For example, there is an exception for the pint for draught beer and cider and for milk in a returnable bottle.

These Regulations amend the Units of Measurement Regulations 1986 (“the 1986 Regulations”) and the Weights and Measures Act 1985 (“the Act”).

The Act is also amended to reflect the requirements of the Directive by the Weights and Measures Act 1985 (Metrication) (Amendment) Order 1994 (S.I. 1994/2866) which should be read in conjunction with these Regulations in order to see how the Act’s provisions as a whole are amended in implementation of the Directive.

The 1986 Regulations consolidated previous Regulations which implemented both the provisions of the Directive before its amendment by Directive 89/617/EEC and those of its predecessor, Council Directive 71/354/EEC (OJ No. L243, 29.10.71, p.29).

As a result of the amendments made to the 1986 Regulations by these Regulations, the use of those commonly used imperial units referred to above ceases to be authorised in the specified circumstances except where they benefit from a derogation. Details of these derogations are given in the new Schedules 3A and 3B which Regulation 4(6) adds to the 1986 Regulations.

One significant amendment made by these Regulations to the Act is made by Regulation 6(5)(c) which amends the Act so as to make unlawful for use for trade those commonly used imperial units referred to above by placing them in Part VI of Schedule 1 to the Act (see the Schedule to these Regulations). They may however continue to be used as supplementary indications which accompany indications of quantity given by means of metric units.

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