Apply to move abnormal loads

You must get consent from us to drive a vehicle carrying an abnormal load, which is excessively long, wide or heavy, through Suffolk.

You must check the Suffolk Police guidance before you plan your route and notify them using the details on their site.

If your route uses a trunk road you will also need to contact National Highways for permission.

You must provide an indemnity to the highway authority for any vehicle over 44 tonnes.

Heavy, wide or long loads are commonly referred to as ‘abnormal loads’ although the correct term is an ‘Abnormal Indivisible Load’ (AIL). An abnormal indivisible load is one which cannot be divided into two or more loads for carriage on roads without undue expense or risk of damage.

Mobile cranes, engineering plant and road recovery vehicles are also likely to fall within STGO legislation.

  • For heavy loads, the loaded vehicle must exceed 44,000kg in gross vehicle weight.
  • For wide loads, the loaded vehicle must exceed 3m in width, including any left of right projections.
  • For long loads, the loaded vehicle length must exceed 18.75m rigid length.

The legislation that covers the movement of abnormal loads is called ‘The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003’. It is more commonly referred to as The STGO. You can access the full legislation online - The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003 (legislation.gov.uk) 

Why is the legislation in place?

Depending on the loaded vehicle weight, width or length, the STGO requires hauliers intending to transport an abnormal load to pre-notify Highway, Bridge and Police authorities of their intention to move. This gives Bridge, Highway and Police authorities the opportunity to check that the movement of an abnormal load will not place undue stress on the structures being crossed or, for police authorities, will not cause a hazard to other road users. 

A notice, usually referred to as an ‘abnormal load notification’ must be submitted by the haulier moving the abnormal load and must contain the specific detail required with the STGO. This includes:

  • A list of all the authorities to which the notice is given
  • Details of the user of the vehicle to include address, telephone number, fax number, email address, users licence number, users reference number
  • Details of the intended journey to include point of departure, point of destination, time, date and route of the journey and details of the load being carried
  • Details of the vehicle or vehicle combination to be used including registration number, type of vehicle (s), loaded vehicle dimensions including length (including front and rear projections), width (including lateral projections), height, gross weight, number of wheels per axle, all axle weights and spacings.

The full requirements can be found online - The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003 (legislation.gov.uk) 

Dependent on the loaded vehicle weight, width or length, the abnormal load notification must be provided by hauliers to authorities prior to any movement taking place.

Weight:

  • For a gross weight of the loaded vehicle up to 80,000kgs, 2 clear working days’ notice must be provided to Highway and Bridge Authorities
  • For a gross weight of the loaded vehicle exceeding 80,000kgs and up to 150,000kgs, 5 clear working days’ notice must be provided to Highway and Bridge Authorities and 2 clear workings days’ notice must be provided to police authorities.
  • For a gross weight of the loaded vehicle exceeding 150,000kgs, a Highways England BE16 Special Order form must be submitted with 8 weeks’ notice and a notification must also be submitted to Highway, Bridge and Police Authorities giving 5 clear working days’ notice.

Width:

  • For a width of the loaded vehicle exceeding 3m and up to 5m, 2 clear working days’ notice must be provided to Police Authorities
  • For a width of the loaded vehicle exceeding 5m and up to 6.1m, a Highways England VR1 form must be submitted giving 10 days’ notice and a notification must also be submitted to Police Authorities giving 2 clear working days’ notice
  • For a width of the loaded vehicle exceeding 6.1m, a Highways England BE16 Special Order form must be submitted with 8 weeks’ notice and a notification must also be submitted to Highway, Bridge and Police Authorities giving 5 clear working days’ notice.

Length:

  • For a rigid length exceeding 18.75m up to 27.4m, 2 clear working days’ notice must be provided to Police Authorities
  • For a vehicle combination exceeding 25.9m, 2 clear working days’ notice must be provided to Police Authorities
  • For a rigid length exceeding 30m, a Highways England BE16 Special Order form must be submitted with 8 weeks’ notice and a notification must also be submitted to Highway, Bridge and Police Authorities giving 5 clear working days’ notice.

Notes to remember: Clear working days do not include weekends or bank holidays. 

The STGO stipulates that hauliers must provide Highway and Bridge Authorities with an indemnity to cover either a specific movement, added to an abnormal load notification or to cover a period of one year, known as an annual block indemnity and usually submitted from 1 January to 31 December each year.

The STGO also stipulates the wording that the haulier must use within the indemnity. Details can be found The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003 (legislation.gov.uk) (at the bottom of the page accessed within this link.

Short notice movements

Where a haulier is unable to give the required notice prior to the movement taking place, Suffolk County Council may accept a shorter period of notice provided that a telephone call is made by the haulier to Suffolk County Council to request a movement at short notice. This gives us an opportunity to check that the planned route is acceptable before the journey takes place.

Geographical area covered

If you are moving an abnormal load within Suffolk, you must submit an abnormal load notification to us by email to suffolk@abloads.com prior to your journey taking place.

If you are travelling through Suffolk using A11 or A14, you do not need to notify us as these roads are the responsibility of National Highways. 

Contact us 

Abnormal loads officer
Suffolk County Council Abnormal Load Service
c/o Cascade Software
Brixbury House
Down Lane
Compton
Surrey
GU3 1DQ

Tel: 01483 811822

9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday

9am to 4pm Friday

Email: suffolk@abloads.com

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