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Abnormal Load

Construction & Use or STGO (Cat 1, 2 or 3)

Introduction
There are certain types of loads that most people would refer to as Abnormal Loads but which fall within the bounds of the C&U Regulations. However, in the main, those vehicles that carry Abnormal Loads (AIL's) are recognisable by the placard on the front of their vehicles. This placard (see images below) indicates the carrying capabilities of the vehicle and subsequently assist greatly in the identification process.
Where those vehicles that fall under the STGO General order 2003 (Cat 1, 2 or 3) are concerned, it must also be noted that they are allowed under the regulations to carry more than one abnormal load. However, there are constraints attached to the possibility of the vehicle being able to do so.

What follows is an insight into the categories. We have also reproduced the 'Aide memoire' for action when not complying with construction and use regulations from the Department for Transport.

STGO Placards
Abnormal load carrying vehicles must display a sign at the front to aid identification and state the relevant category. The signs (below) have white lettering on a black background and measure 400 millimetres x 250 millimetres. The word STGO should be in letters 105 millimetres high, with the category (below) in letters 70 millimetres in height - all should be fully centralised on the placard.

Cat 1 Cat 2 Cat 3

Speed Limits
There are speed limitations to STGO vehicles as indicated in the table below.

Category Motorways Dual Carraigeways Other Roads
Category 1 60 mph 50 mph 40 mph
Category 2 40 mph 35 mph 30 mph
Category 3 40 mph 35 mph 30 mph

More than one abnormal load
Only one abnormal load may be carried on a vehicle or combination at one time, except as follows:

Category 1
Two or more abnormal indivisible loads may be carried if they are of the same character. An abnormal indivisible load together with articles of a 'character similar to the load' is also permissable.
NB In practice this only applies to wide and/or long loads. To apply to heavy loads, one load would have to make the vehicle exceed 44 tonnes gvw, which would then place the vehicle under STGO regulations.

A second load 'of similar character' can also be carried under Cat 1. However, the second load must not make the vehicle exceed 50 tonnes gvw, in other words it must remain within Category 1.

Category 1 and Category 2
Two or more abnormal indivisible loads may be carried if:

An abnormal indivisible load consisting of engineering plant, together with constituent parts detached from the plant, may be carried if:

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Application of construction and use regulations
The special types order allows special types vehicles some concessions from the standard construction and use regulations. Category 1 vehicles are only excluded from the standard dimensional regulations. They are subject to all other normal rules, such as on braking.

Category 2 and 3 vehicles are subject to braking standards which require conformity with the construction, fitting and performance criteria of EU Directive 71/320 - although the special types order spells out the most stringent requirements that can be met. As a further concession, wheel chocks may be used with the parking brake to achieve the required efficiency - Tyres must be pneumatic.

There are no extra regulations on lighting, but vehicles carrying abnormal indivisible loads are likely to have to meet the special lighting and other provisions which apply to long loads, supported loads and projecting loads, including fitting trailer corner lamps or side marker lamps

'Aide Memoire'
Aide memoire for action when not complying with construction and use regulations.

Weight, Width or Length Notice and Forms Required
Gross weight of vehicle carrying the load exceeding C&U limits up to 80,000 kgs (78.74 tonnes) 2 clear days notice with indemnity to Highway and Bridge Authorities
Gross weight of vehicle carrying the load exceeding 80,000 kgs (78.74 tonnes) up to 150,000 kgs (147.63 tonnes) 2 clear days notice to Police and 5 clear days notice with indemnity to Highway and Bridge Authorities
Gross weight of vehicle carrying the load exceeding 150,000 kgs (147.63 tonnes) HA BE 16 Special Order* plus 5 clear days notice to Police and 5 clear days notice with indemnity to Highway and Bridge Authorities
Width exceeding 3 metres (9' 10") up to 5.0 metres (16' 5") 2 clear days notice to Police
Width exceeding 5.0 metres (16' 5") up to 6.1 metres (20') HA form VR1** plus 2 clear days notice to Police
Width exceeding 6.1 metres (20') HA BE 16 Special Order* plus 5 clear days notice to Police and 5 clear days notice with indemnity to Highway and Bridge Authorities
Length exceeding 18.75 metres (61' 6") up to 27.4 metres (89' 11") rigid (Vehicle or train of vehicles) 2 clear days notice to Police
Vehicle combination exceeding 25.9 metres (85') 2 clear days notice to Police
Length exceeding 30 metres (98' 4") rigid HA BE 16 Special Order* plus 5 clear days notice to Police and 5 clear days notice with indemnity to Highway and Bridge Authorities
Note 1: 'Clear days Notice' excludes Saturdays, Sundays, or a public holiday in any part of Great Britain in relation to movements authorised by the Special Types General Order only, there being no such exclusion in Special Orders unless specifically stated.
Note 2: There is no statutory limit governing the overall height of a load, however, wherever possible it should not exceed 4.95 metres (16' 3") in order that the maximum use can be made of the motorway and trunk road network.
* Application forms BE16 obtainable from the Highways Agency at the address below (at least 8 weeks should be allowed for the necessary procedures to be completed).
** VR1 forms obtainable from the Highways Agency at the address below (at least 10 days should be allowed for the form to be processed).
   
Abnormal Load Contact Address Abnormal Load Contact Direct
Abnormal Loads Team
Highways Agency
C6, 5 Broadway, Broad Street
Birmingham, B15 1BL
Tel: 0121 678 8068
Fax: 0121 678 8569
Email: abnormal.loads@highways.gsi.gov.uk

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