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Frequently Asked Questions

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Through our frequently asked questions section we aim to help you find the answers you need without having to call us to ask for information. We've provided answers to questions on a range of topics which are regularly asked of police forces up and down the country.

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Before an abnormal load can be transported on a road the operator has to comply with the conditions of the following legislation:

  • The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986,
  • The Road Vehicles (Authorised Weights) Regulations 1998,
  • The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003

The driver must notify the Police and in addition, if the gross weight or axle weights exceed those specified in the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, he must notify the Highway Authority and all bridge owners along the proposed route.

If the load exceeds any of the following widths or lengths or 80 tonnes gross weight – two days notice is required by the police.

Width
C & U and STGO – Over 305 mm overhang on either side
C & U – Over 2.9 metres overall width
STGO – Over 3 metres overall length

Length
C & U – Over 18.65 metres rigid length
STGO – Over 18.75 metres rigid length
C & U and STGO – Over 25.9 metres overall length
C & U and STGO – Over 3.05 metres overhang to front or rear

If the abnormal load exceeds the maximum authorised weight for its class of vehicle (normally 44 tones) but does not exceed 80 tonnes gross weight, the movement requires two clear days' notice (with indemnity) to the Highways and Bridges Authorities.

If the load exceeds 80 tonnes, five clear days' notice (with indemnity) is required to the Highways and Bridges Authorities.

Generally, there are no restrictions on when an abnormal load can be moved. However most Police forces will restrict the hours when loads can be moved. Normally they will be prohibited during the hours of darkness and at peak-traffic periods.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.