Abnormal loads

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

  • a weight of more than 44 tonnes
  • an axle load of more than 10 tonnes for a single non-driving axle and 11.5 tonnes for a single driving axle
  • a width of more than 2.9 metres
  • a length of more than 18.65 metres

If you are 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 the Highways Agency electronic service delivery for abnormal loads (ESDAL2) 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 don’t use ESDAL2 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.

Please read the factsheet for notice requirements.

Force Area embargo periods

Restrictions on AIL movements within certain time periods and specific parts of the network are detailed for the forthcoming year:

Devon and Cornwall Police: our role

The Abnormal Loads Officer, located at police headquarters, will use nationally agreed criteria; Force policy and local knowledge to decide if the load needs to be escorted on all or part of the route.

If it is decided that the load requires an escort, to ensure the safety of other road users and the driver of the load, it is the responsibility of the vehicle operator to provide an escort as the police no longer routinely escort abnormal loads.

Please note: The operators of the vehicle are required to give at least TWO working days written notice of their intention to move the load. The notice must include details of the operator, their contact details and numbers;  load dimensions and weight; the route to be taken and the dates of the move.

Please email: abloads
Telephone: 01392 226177
Fax: 01392 452426

Office hours: Monday to Friday 8am - 4pm


Abnormal Loads Officer
Devon and Cornwall Police
Police Headquarters
Middlemoor, Exeter

Tel: 01392 226177

Non Emergency Directory (NED)

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