Heavy and abnormal loads

What you need to do when moving large, heavy and abnormal loads by road.

1 Overview

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (C&U) provide the basic legislation by which normal motor vehicles and trailers are built and operate on the road.

The movement of large or heavy loads that exceed dimensions set down in the C&U Regulations is permitted provided they comply with The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003 (STGO). These loads are generally referred to as ‘Heavy Abnormal Indivisible Load’ (HAIL) or abnormal loads.

A HAIL or abnormal load is any load that cannot be broken down into smaller loads for transport, for example, a 200-tonne transformer.

2 Abnormal load dimensions

A vehicle will be classed as an abnormal load where one or more of the following vehicle dimensions are exceeded:

  • 44,000 kilograms weight
  • 2.9 metres wide
  • 18.65 metres long

3 Notification of abnormal load movement

An abnormal load would normally be moved by a specialist haulier.

The haulier responsible for moving the abnormal load bears the responsibility for any problem that might be caused as a result of the abnormal load movement.

For this reason hauliers are required to notify the County Council (and other bridge owners such as National Highways and Network Rail) in advance of any abnormal load movement and to indemnify the County Council against any problem that might occur as a result.

The County Council will check any proposed route to ensure its suitability for abnormal loads. Hauliers should also contact the police for approval and to provide an escort where necessary.

Notice periods

Legislation stipulates the days of notice required:

  • 2 clear working days for 44-80 tonnes
  • 5 clear working days for 80-150 tonnes
  • 150 tonnes and over require a special order as specified in the The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003

The County Council will reject a movement notification if not given enough notice.

How to notify

Movement notifications should be:

Further information

Last updated:
3 September 2021
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