Abnormal loads and weight limits

Advice on transporting abnormal loads on our roads and the steps you should follow to notify us.

Hauliers and crane operators must give a minimum of two days' notice to the highway authority and bridge owners before moving an abnormal load.

If any vehicle or vehicle combination has a gross weight greater than 80 tonnes, hauliers must give a minimum of five days' notice.

How to notify

We will only accept notifications submitted using the Electronic Service Delivery for Abnormal Loads (ESDAL) website or via forms emailed to the Electronic Service Delivery for Abnormal Loads.

Notify using the website

You can notify using the Electronic Service Delivery for Abnormal Loads (ESDAL) website. You will need to apply for a free account for the Electronic Service Delivery for Abnormal Loads website, you should allow two to three working days for your application to be processed.

Notify by submitting a form via email

You can notify by completing the interactive PDF proforma on the National Highways website and sending it to notifications@esdal2.com. You can also find guidance on using the interactive PDF proforma on the National Highways website.

As an alternative to the interactive PDF proforma, third party software that can connect directly to ESDAL to generate a non-ESDAL notification may also be used.


Annually, the haulier should provide a form of indemnity which indemnifies us in respect of any damage that is caused during any journey for which we have been notified.

Useful information

You can find further details on roadworks, including diversion route information on our roadworks page.

Frequently asked questions

What do you class as an abnormal load?

In terms of size, an abnormal load is defined as a vehicle that has any of the following:

  • a weight of more than 44,000kg
  • an axle load of more than 10,000kg for a single non-driving axle and 11,500kg for a single driving axle
  • a width of more than 2.9m
  • a length of more than 18.65m
  •  height of vehicle is greater than 5.03m

What details should the haulier supply for each abnormal load movement?

The following details should be provided:

  • name, address, telephone and email address
  • vehicle registration number
  • origin and destination of load (address and postcodes)
  • dates of load movements
  • details of proposed route (M180, M18, M62 Junction 34, A19 etc)
  • brief details of type load ('crane', 'excavator' etc)
  • length, width and height of load (and whether load can be reduced in height)
  • gross vehicle weight
  • individual axle weights and axle spacing (and number of wheels per axle)

Are there any charges involved with moving abnormal loads?

There is no charge for processing the notifications or indemnities. However, charges will be made for other services, including:

  • if calculations are required to determine if the bridge or other structure is suitable to carry the abnormal load
  • if any street furniture is required to be removed and replaced

The work will only start on receipt of an order, based on an estimate, but actual costs will be charged. Payment is usually by cheque made payable to North Yorkshire Council or by invoice. A load is not allowed to move until authorised.

Why do some roads have weight limits?

As the highway authority, we can make traffic regulation orders to control all types of traffic, including weight limits for lorries.

We have to consult on any proposed order and publish notices on site and in the local press detailing the proposal and inviting any objections, which, if they can't be resolved, must be reported to the relevant council area committee.

Weight limits are a form of traffic regulation order, mostly introduced to protect parts of the highway network, such as weak bridges. Signs indicate the maximum gross vehicle weight of vehicles permitted to use the bridge.

Orders can also be introduced for environmental reasons. Such restrictions generally require exemptions allowing access for loading and unloading. These exemptions make these types of restrictions relatively difficult to enforce.

Enforcement of weight limits in North Yorkshire is the responsibility of North Yorkshire Police. In areas where there are concerns that weight restrictions are being ignored, trading standards and planning services officers also carry out enforcement work.