Mobile Cranes

Special Types (General Order 2003) STGO defines a mobile crane as/or where:

  • A motor vehicle that is specially designed or built to carry out lifting operations that cannot safely be carried out by a motor vehicle or trailer, and which complies with Construction & Use (C&U) Regulations, Authorised Weight (AW) Regulations and Goods Vehicle Type Approval Regulations 
  • The gross weight exceeds 12,000 kg per axle 
  • A motor vehicle that has a crane permanently mounted as part of the vehicle chassis design (the definition excludes lorry mounted cranes) 
  • It is operated by the driver or other person riding on it 
  • It complies with Part 4 of Schedule 1 of Vehicle Excise & Registration Act 1994, as a mobile crane 

A mobile crane which does not meet all these criteria may be defined as an engineering plant


Category A:

  • The maximum gross weight of 20,000 kg on 2 axles 
  • The maximum gross weight of 30,000 kg on 3 axles 
  • The maximum gross weight of 36,000 kg on 4 axles 
  • Maximum of 4 axles 
  • Maximum of 11,500 kg on a single driving axle 
  • Maximum of 10,000 kg on a single non-driving axle

     Speed limits: 

  • Motorway - 60 mph 
  • Dual carriageway - 50 mph 
  • Other roads - 40 mph 

Category B:

  • The maximum axle weight of 12,500 kg
  • The maximum gross weight of 12,500 kg multiplied by the number of axles

     Speed limits:  

  • Motorway - 50 mph 
  • Dual carriageway - 45 mph 
  • Other roads - 40 mph

Category C: 

  • The maximum axle weight of 16,500 kg
  • The maximum gross weight of 16,500 kg multiplied by the number of axles: up to a maximum of 150,000kg 

     Speed limits:  

  • Motorway - 40 mph 
  • Dual carriageway - 35 mph 
  • Other roads - 30 mph 


Mobile cranes with a gross weight of more than 80,000 kg - but not exceeding 150,000 kg - must give:

  • 2 days notice to the police authority
  • 5 days notice to the road and bridge authorities 

Vehicles weighing under 80 tonnes must give 2 days notification to the roads and bridges authorities. 

Those between 80 and 150 tonnes must give:

  • 2 days notice to the police authority
  • 5 days notice to the roads and bridges authorities 

Vehicles over 150 tonnes need to give special notification, which means:

  • 5 days notice to all authorities 
  • 10 weeks consultation time with the owners of structures such as bridges and tunnels that have weight restrictions 

If the STGO vehicle is over 3.05 metres, you need to tell the police authority regardless of the weight of the vehicle. 

The notification requirements for mobile cranes can be found in the Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003, Statutory Instrument 1998 – Part 2 (Articles 10 – 18). 

Vehicle Excise Duty 

A mobile crane is taxable in the ‘special vehicle’ class (sub-category mobile crane) at the same rate as the basic goods vehicle. 

Plating and Testing 

Since May 2018, mobile cranes are no longer exempt from the plating and testing regulations. 

Drivers’ Hours and Tachograph Regulations 

Drivers of mobile cranes do not have to follow EU drivers’ hours and tachograph regulations or GB domestic drivers’ hour’s rules. This is because they’re not carrying goods or passengers by road. If goods were carried then the normal rules would apply. You can find out more in the guide to Drivers’ hours and tachographs rules: goods vehicles (GV262) 

Driving Licence 

Drivers of mobile cranes must have a driving licence with a Category C vocational licence qualification

Other Conditions 

Mobile cranes must be fitted with an amber illuminating beacon, they cannot draw a trailer, and must not carry any goods or burden (except if used for or to help to lift).