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Abnormal Loads - Movement on public highways

Our abnormal loads team work with haulage companies and transport operators to safeguard bridges from damage by heavy and high vehicles (abnormal loads) ensuring public safety.

They co-ordinate the movement of abnormal loads on the local authority road network in West Yorkshire on behalf of the five West Yorkshire highway authorities: Leeds City Council, Kirklees Metropolitan Council, Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council and Bradford Metropolitan District Council.

The Road Vehicles Construction and Use Regulations 1986 (C & U) and The Road Vehicles (Authorised Weight) Regulations 1998 set out the different types and classification of motor vehicles that can travel unrestricted on public roads. The movement of any long, wide or heavy vehicles and cranes that do not comply with these regulations must comply with The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types)(General) Order 2003 (STGO) and are classed as Abnormal Indivisible Load Vehicles. These are vehicles whose gross weight is greater than 44 tonnes or which have an axle weight of greater than 11.5 tonnes.

Abnormal loads can potentially travel on any public road but a haulier must comply with any highway restrictions such as weight, width or height. They must also comply with the notification process and time periods set out in the STGO. This involves informing all the highway authorities and bridge owners such as Network Rail along the proposed route and giving them details of the vehicle in terms of length, width, gross weight and axle weight.

Notification of abnormal loads.
In accordance with STGO hauliers and crane operators must give a minimum of two clear days notice to the Highway Authority and bridge owners before moving an abnormal load. If any vehicle or vehicle combination has a gross weight greater than 80 tonnes then hauliers must give a minimum of five clear days notice. (This does not include Saturdays, Sundays or Bank Holidays)

The haulier or crane operator must provide an indemnity to each highway authority and bridge owner before the vehicle is moved to protect the authority in the event of any damage being caused to one of their highway structures on the route.

Leeds City Council operate a ‘short notice’ movement request policy which is to used when it is proposed to deviate from the notification periods set in STGO. This policy requires hauliers to contact the abnormal loads team by telephone before making the movement. After 4pm details may be left on the answer machine so that the team can take action the next working day. If your movement is for the next day then it should not take place until you have received verbal authorisation from a member of the abnormal loads team.

Information required to be supplied
STGO, Schedule 9 provides a list of information required to be supplied by Hauliers or Crane Operators when they make their movement request to Leeds City Council. These details include:
• Vehicle length, width, height, axle loadings and axle spacings;
• Nature of the load;
• Address for the ‘Point of Departure’ and ‘Point of Destination’;
• The proposed route between these points.

These details are needed to assess the suitability of the proposed route and to ensure that the abnormal load can travel safely over or under local authority bridges. The haulier or crane operator will be informed of any conflicts that are found and where possible an alternate route will be suggested. It remains the responsibility of the haulier or crane operator to survey the route and complete a risk assessment prior to the movement, to ensure the load can safely negotiate the route.


The movement of abnormal load vehicles should be notified on the following:

Leeds City Council: 
E-mail: abnormalloads@leeds.gov.uk
Tel: 0113 2476174
Fax: 0113 2476357 

Highways Agency Area 12
(motorway and trunk roads):    Fax: 0844 3728388
West Yorkshire Police:             Fax: 01924 293123