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Abnormal Load

Authorisation of Special Types (General Order 2003) - STGO

Introduction
Part 2 of the Road Traffic Act (RTA) is about the construction and use of vehicles and equipment. RTA applies in England, Wales and Scotland. The RTA does not apply in Northern Ireland except certain provisions.

Section 41 of RTA allows for regulations to be made to regulate, the width, height, length and weight of vehicles (including where there is a load on the vehicle). The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (SI 1986/1078) (C and U regulations) are made under section 41. There are a number of amendments to the C and U regulations.
The C and U regulations set out the general restrictions concerning the width, height, length and weight of vehicles (including where there is a load on the vehicle). In relation to weight, the Road Vehicles (Authorised Weight) Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/3111) (the weight regulations), which are also made under section 41, may also need to be considered.

Abnormal Indivisible Loads (AIL)
An "abnormal indivisible load" is defined in the Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003 as a load that cannot without undue expense or risk of damage be divided into two or more loads for the purpose of being carried on a road, and that:

  1. the Authorised weight Regulations (or, if those Regulations do not apply, the equivalent provisions in Part 4 of the Construction and Use Regulations); and
  2. part 2 of the Construction and Use Regulations

Notifications for Abnormal Indivisible Loads are required where loads or vehicles exceed maximum vehicle weight, axle weight or dimension limits in any of the following ways:

Weight Action required
Gross weight or axle weights exceeding Construction and Use Regulation or Authorised Weight limits up to 80,000kgs (78.74 tons) Two (2) clear days notice with indemnity to Highway and Bridge Authorities.
Gross weight (of vehicle carrying the load) exceeding 80,000 kg (78.74 tonnes) up to 150,000kgs (147.63 tonnes) Two (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 150,000kgs (147.63 tons). Highways Agency Special Order (8 weeks notice) plus clear days notice to Police and 5 clear days notice with indemnity to Highway and Bridge Authorities.
Width Action required
Width exceeding 3.0 metres (9' 6") and up to 5.0 metres (16' 5") Two (2) clear days notice to the police.
Width exceeding 5.0 metres (16' 5") up to 6.1 metres (20') Highways Agency (10 days notice) form VR1 plus 2 clear days notice to Police.
Width exceeding 6.1 metres (20') Highways Agency Special Order (8 weeks notice) plus 5 clear days notice to Police and 5 clear days notice with indemnity to Highway and Bridge Authorities.
Length Action required
When exceeding 18.75 metres (60' 1") and up to 30 metres (98' 5") rigid (Vehicle or train of vehicles) Two (2) clear days notice to the police.
When exceeding 30 metres (98' 5") rigid Highways Agency Special Order (8 weeks notice) to Police and 5 clear days notice with indemnity to Road and Bridge Authorities.

Construction and Use Regulations - Construction and Use Regulations 1986 apply to loads, which are wide or long but not heavy. Vehicle lengths may reach 27.4 metres and can be carried on specially designed vehicles. Loads up to 30.0 metres long can be moved under STGO. Loads carried on any other type of vehicle or loads in excess of 30.0 metres length can be moved under STGO. Loads carried on any other type of vehicle or loads in excess of 30.0 metres require a Special Order.

Form BE16 (Special Order Procedure)
Widths above 2.9 metres but less than 4.3 metres are permitted by the Construction and Use Regulations. Widths above 4.3 metres up to 5.0 metres are classified and are permitted by Special Types General Order (STGO) on AILV. Movement of loads between 5.0 and 6.1 metres require Highways Agency Special Order procedure (form BE16 action).
Form BE16 is required for vehicles that exceed - 30 metres (98' 5") in length or 6.1 metres (20') in width or 150,000 kgs (147.63 tonnes) in weight. The weight being the gross weight of any vehicle or combination of vehicles actually carrying the load. Notification is required at least 8 weeks prior to due movement date.
To download a copy of the BE16 Form, which is available from Esdal (a division of the Highways Agency), use the link below.

Form BE16 (Special Order Form) BE16 Form - ESDAL

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Abnormal Indivisible Load Vehicle (AILV)
The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003 (commonly known as STGO). STGO makes provision authorising certain types of vehicles to be used on roads notwithstanding that they do not fully comply with the requirements that generally apply to vehicles permitted on roads. The Order specifies the requirements that must be met by vehicles seeking to rely on such authorisation.
This Order is a general order made under section 44(1) of the 1988 Road Traffic Act. It authorises road use by certain special types of vehicles notwithstanding that they do not fully comply with regulations made under section 41 of the 1988 Road Traffic Act. It imposes the restrictions and conditions with which such vehicles must comply, including the extent to which regulations made under section 41 must be observed.

Abnormal Indivisible Load Vehicles (AILV) are one of the specific Part 2 vehicles authorised an permitted road use subject to STGO 2003. Such vehicles may only be used for the carriage and movement of abnormal indivisible loads. Many other types of vehicles are also permitted use by the STGO 2003. However they are not used for the carriage of AIL but for a variety of other special purposes. Each is subject to their own requirements. However all are subject to Police, Road and Bridge Authority and DfT notice at similar size and weight limits as specified in the STGO.

In this Order "abnormal indivisible load vehicle" means a vehicle of any of the following descriptions:

Vehicle Maximum Weight Categories are defined as:

Notifications
Weight or Dimensions for which Police notification is required include loads over Width 3m and Rigid Length 18.75m and Gross Weight 80,000 kgs.
Maximum Weights before Road and Bridge authority require notifications include:

Maximum Dimensions for STGO include:

Categories of load weights

Load Structure Permissable for carraige under Regulation
Loads reaching 44 tonnes (gvw) or 11.5 tonnes per axle Construction and Use Regulations
Loads reaching 50 tonnes or 11.5 tonnes per axle STGO category 1
Loads between 50 and 80 tonnes or 12.5 tonnes per axle STGO category 2
Those loads between 80 and 150 tonnes or 15 tonnes per axle STGO category 3
Special Orders govern anything above 150 tonnes.

FormVR1 (Permit)
Form VR1 (Permit) is required for vehicles/loads with widths exceeding 5 metres up to 6.1 metres. VR1 approval is required for vehicles, which are authorised by article 15, 18, 19 or 20 where the overall width of the vehicle or load exceeds 5 metres. Notification is required at least 10 days prior to due movement date.
You can download a coppy of the VR1 Form below or visit the ESDAL website.

Form VR1VR1 Form - ESDAL

Road Traffic Act Section 44 Vehicle special orders
Road Traffic Act Section 44 Vehicle special orders are classified in 2 groups:

Source - Department for Transport

Further Reading
For further information relating to the above and further information from ESDAL, please use the links below:

Abnormal Loads background and Definitions - Dept for Transport
ESDAL Project - Highways Agency

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