Shropshire Council

Abnormal loads

On average we receive 115 notifications a month relating to abnormal load movements through the county, of which 80 relate to movement on council roads.

What's an abnormal load?

“A load that cannot without undue expense or risk or damage be divided into two or more loads for the purpose of being carried on a road.”

What's an abnormal vehicle?

“One that cannot meet normal vehicle standards.”

For most practical purposes this usually means a vehicle that exceeds 44 tonnes gross weight, is wider than 2.9m, or has a rigid length longer than 18.75m. There are no legal height restrictions, but hauliers are advised to inform highway authorities of vehicles higher than 5m.

Legal documents covering abnormal loads and vehicles

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 – usually referred to as “Construction and Use” or “C&U” Regulations

The Construction and Use Regulations describe the different types and classification of permitted vehicles for use on the highway, for example motor cars, motorbikes, buses, lorries, mobile cranes, and tracked vehicles. It also states the maximum dimensions for each type of vehicle, its gross weight, number of axles, braking system, type of tyres, maximum speed, exhaust system and mirrors.

The Road Vehicles (Authorised Weight) Regulations 1998 – usually referred to as “Authorised Weight” Regulations.

The Authorised Weight Regulations impose limits to the maximum weight (gross and per axle) of different types of vehicles relating to the number of axles within each category of vehicle.

The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types)(General) Order 2003 – usually referred to as “Special Types” or “STGO”

STGO applies to vehicles that are not covered in the C&U or Authorised Weight Regulations. It specifies when the police, highway authority or secretary of state is to be notified of an intended vehicle movement, and the number of days notice required before the movement takes place. The minimum period of notice (in writing) is two clear days before the intended movement, but this period increases as the vehicle weight or size increases.

Legislation states that the police are to be notified of every abnormal load movement, but the highway authority only needs to be notified when the maximum permitted weight conditions for that type of vehicle are exceeded. However, as an added safety precaution, hauliers are requested to notify us of any abnormal load movement through Shropshire.

Telling us about an abnormal load

All notifications to us are to be sent using the contact details on this page.

For the convenience of hauliers, we don't dictate on how the notification is laid out, but it must contain all the necessary information as stated in the STGO. The haulier must also indemnify us against any damage its vehicle may cause to any road, bridge or other structure.

All abnormal load notifications received will be risk assessed against individual council bridge carrying capacities, headroom limitations or carriageway restrictions. As with normal industry practice, the haulier will only be notified if it is considered not safe for the vehicle to travel.