Transporting abnormal loads

Abnormal loads

An abnormal load is a vehicle that has any of the following:

  • a weight of more than 44,000kg
  • an axle load of more than 10,000kg for a single non-driving axle and 11,500kg for a single driving axle
  • a width of more than 2.9 metres
  • a rigid length of more than 18.65 metres

Other measurements may apply if you’re transporting a load abroad.

If you’re responsible for transporting an abnormal load, you need to follow regulations for notifying the authorities.

Notifying the authorities

Depending on the load you’re moving and your route, you may need to give advance warning to:

  • the police
  • highway authorities
  • bridge and structure owners like Network Rail

You can use Highways England’s electronic service delivery for abnormal loads (ESDAL) to:

  • plot your route
  • notify the police, highways and bridge authorities of your abnormal load movements around the road network
  • get advance notice of any possible route problems
  • save vehicle details and routes for future use

If you do not use ESDAL you must fill in an abnormal loads movement application form.

Give advance notice

You must allow time to get the necessary clearances from the police, highway and bridge authorities. For example, a Special Order application must be completed 10 weeks before the scheduled date of the move.

Read the factsheet for notice requirements.

Download ‘Notification requirements for the movement of abnormal indivisible loads or vehicles’ (PDF, 87KB)

Taking an abnormal load abroad

If you’re taking an abnormal load outside the UK, you’ll need to:

Check if a load is abnormal in another country

Some countries measure abnormal loads differently from the UK.

Check with each country you’re travelling through to find out if the load you’re transporting counts as abnormal - if it does, you’ll need to: