Abnormal loads | Suffolk Constabulary

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Abnormal loads

What is an Abnormal Load?

An ‘abnormal load’ is a large or heavy load that has any of the following:

  • a width of more than 2.9m (9’ 6”)
  • a rigid length of more than 18.65m (61’)
  • a weight of more than 44,000 kilograms (44 Tonnes)
  • an axle load of more than 10,000 kilograms for a single non driving axle and 11,500 kilograms for a single driving axle
  • All notifications will be assessed and generally Police Escorts will be required on all roads in Norfolk and Suffolk on any loads over 5m wide, in excess of 150,000 kg or over 30m long.

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

For more information visit Gov.uk website Transporting Abnormal Loads

Agricultural or General Dispensations

For Norfolk or Suffolk dispensation, please contact:

Abnormal Loads Department
Norfolk Constabulary
Jubilee House
Falconers Chase
Wymondham
Norfolk
NR18 0WW


Tel. 01953 424672


Email [email protected]

Other Information

The A14, A11 South of Barton Mills and A12 South of Copdock interchange to the Essex border currently allows loads up to 4.6 metres wide to travel unescorted; this will be reduced in line with all other roads in Norfolk and Suffolk to 4.1 metres. Therefore loads over 4.1 metres will need escorting.

The A1071 has been reviewed and reduced to 3.65 metres; requiring a self-escort for any loads in excess of 3.65 metres.  For loads in excess of 3.8 metres, a Police Escort will be considered. This change took effect from 1st January 2016.

Police escort will be required on any road in Norfolk and Suffolk for loads over 5.0 metres wide.

Night Moves

There will be no “Night Moves” (as per lighting up times) allowed in either Norfolk or Suffolk, with certain exceptions as follows:

  • The A14 from the Cambridgeshire border to Felixstowe Docks and vice versa
  • The A12 from the Essex border to the A14 Copdock interchange, and vice versa, or in absolute exception by the Abnormal Loads officer.

All loads must be notified as normal with a minimum of 48 hours’ notice to Norfolk & Suffolk Abnormal Loads, a clear request for “night moves” and a permit can be issued with due consideration of the dimensions of each load, together with the following:

 Night move restrictions

  • Loads up to 3.5m wide, up to 30m long and weighing up 100 tonnes will be allowed to travel unescorted.
  • “Self-Escort” permission can be granted to loads between 3.5m and 4.1m wide, up to 30m long and weighing up to 100 tonnes (One escort vehicle per one load).
  • No loads in excess of 4.1m wide will be allowed to travel except in exceptional circumstances, of which express permission must be sought from the Norfolk and Suffolk Abnormal Loads Office.
  • Each request will be dealt with on its own merit by the Abnormal Loads Officer, of which advice can be given in individual cases.

Notification Requirements

Police require 2 clear days’ notice rising to 5 clear days’ notice for loads over 6.1m (20’) wide, loads in excess of 44 tonnes and 30m (98.5’) length, or loads exceeding 150,000kg (147.63 tonnes).

Other authorities may require longer notification times.

The rules police abide by are from the ACPO Guidelines – Abnormal Load Movements 

Notifying the authorities

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

  • the police
  • highway authorities
  • bridge and structure owners such as Network Rail

You can use Electronic Service Delivery for Abnormal Loads (ESDAL) system to:

  • plot your route
  • notify police, highway 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

ESDAL will tell you who you need to notify about your route. 

If you do not use the ESDAL system and need to notify the Police and Highways and Bridge Authorities of an abnormal load, complete Form of Notice to Police and Highway and Bridge Authorities (available on the right hand side under 'downloads') and send the completed form to Norfolk and Suffolk Abnormal Loads team [email protected]