Moving an abnormal load
Police Scotland manages the movement of abnormal loads throughout Scotland.
Anyone who wants to move an abnormal load throughout Scotland has a legal obligation to notify the Chief Officer of Police Scotland.
An abnormal load is a load that cannot be broken down into smaller loads for transport. To break down the load would be too expensive and risk damage.
The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 and The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003 (“the STGO”) both give guidance.
The user of certain vehicles specified must, before the start of any journey, notify the Chief Officer of Police. This is for for each area in which the vehicle or vehicle-combination is to be used.
If your vehicle falls within these vehicle types and you are moving it within Scotland you must notify Police Scotland of your journey.
The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations deal with vehicles with wide or long loads. It also deals with vehicles with projections.
The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) General Regulations deal with special categories of vehicles. These comprise of abnormal indivisible loads, mobile cranes, engineering plant and road recovery vehicles.
Therefore a load that is not abnormally large or long may still need to be notified under the relevant legislation.
The Police Scotland Abnormal Loads Team must be notified in writing of all Abnormal Indivisible Loads travelling throughout Scotland. They are based at Detroit Road, Glenrothes, KY6 2RJ.
Write to them if the load is larger than the following dimensions:
Width: 2.9m (including lateral projection)
Weight: More than 44,000kgs
Length: 18.65m rigid length or 25.9m overall length (including forwards and rearwards projections)
The measurements should be taken from the widest point (including mirrors, etc) and the longest point.
In order to move an abnormal load within Scotland, you must notify Police Scotland of your intention. This is in accordance with the Construction and Use Regulations/the STGO, referred to as “the Notification”. All Notifications will be assessed individually.
Due to the danger the overall dimensions may pose to other road users, your load will be assessed on the total overall length/width. This is opposed to the rigid length/width.
This is an important consideration in remote areas where the roads are more challenging.
To notify Police Scotland of an Abnormal Load movement, you can do so by downloading our Notification form.
This can be found at via ESDAL, Cascade, or other electronic means, and sending it electronically to OSDAbnormalLoadsScotland@scotland.police.uk. A Notification can also be posted to the Abnormal Loads Team at Detroit Road, Glenrothes, KY6 2RJ.
If required, a blank copy of the Notification Form can be posted out if requested.
Abnormal loads are not permitted to travel during peak hours. These are Monday-Friday between 6.30am-9.30am and 3.30pm-6.30pm.
Movements during the hours of darkness are also not permitted in some rural areas.
When notifying Police Scotland of an abnormal load move, the following notice period applies:
You are to provide 2 clear working days’ notice of your intended movement of any abnormal load.
When determining what 2 clear working days is:
- The date the Notification is received is NOT counted
- The date of the movement is NOT counted
- Sundays and Public Holidays are NOT counted
For example, when applying the criteria above, if the Notification is received on a Friday, the movement would be unauthorised to move until the following Tuesday.
Submit your notification stating your intention to move an abnormal load. The Police Scotland Abnormal Loads Team will then assess your Notification and respond informing you of any requirement for a self-escort.
Your load may require a self-escort for a number of reasons. For example, due to the geography of the road it is travelling on.
Each Notification is dealt with individually. There is not an exhaustive list as to why it may require a self-escort.
If you email your Notification to us we will provide you with a response in the same way. If you send your Notification by post then we will respond by post.
Submit your notification stating your intention to move an abnormal load. The Police Scotland Abnormal Loads Team will assess your Notification. They will inform you of any requirement for a police escort.
Your load may require a police escort for a number of reasons. For example due to the geography of the road it’s travelling on, the dimensions of your load, roadworks, etc.
Each Notification is dealt with on its own merit. There is not an exhaustive list as to why your abnormal load movement may require a police escort.
If you email your Notification to us we will provide you with a response in the same way. However if you send your Notification by post then we will respond by post.
If a police escort is necessary you will be charged at the rates per hour per officer listed in the table below.
£63.50 (£73.50 wef 1 April 2023)
£73.50 (£85.00 wef 1 April 2023)
£72.50 (£79.50 wef 1 April 2023)
These rates are reviewed annually.
Road conditions, volume of traffic and where officers are resourced from vary and we are therefore unable to provide quotes.
However the minimum you will be charged is 5.5 hours for each officer. This includes the time it takes an officer to travel to meet the load, complete the escort and return to their base.
If the time taken to complete the escort and return to base exceeds 5.5 hours you will be invoiced for all hours. This will be incurred at the officer’s hourly rate thereafter.
If you are planning a large project please contact us when planning the delivery of this project. For example, a new windfarm, a new bypass or bridge installation
If you cancel a police escort with less than 8 days’ notice, then you will be charged a minimum of 5.5 hours per officer. This excludes the day of cancellation and day of escort.
This applies regardless of when the Notification was submitted.
This is because Police Scotland incur costs as a direct result of planning for an escort. These costs are linked to Police Regulations and unavoidable.
If 8 days or more notice is given (excluding the day of cancellation and day of escort) then no charges will apply.
In order for Police Scotland to provide escort services to the user of the specified vehicle, the user must sign and deliver to Police Scotland a hard copy Minute of Agreement. This is for the provision of the Police Scotland Escort Service before the escort is arranged.
The Police Scotland Abnormal Loads Team will issue the Minute of Agreement to you at the time of the request for a police escort.
A financial health check will also be undertaken by our Finance Department before credit terms are agreed.
The Chief Constable of Police Scotland can dispense with the need to notify repeated movements of the same load along the same route.
This applies to both quarterly abnormal load and agricultural dispensations. Further details on each type of dispensation can be found below or by contacting the Abnormal Loads Team.
If you regularly move loads of the same dimension to and from the same locations, we operate a scheme where you may apply for a Quarterly Dispensation.
We will consider loads up to 4.1mtrs wide. However, please note that depending on the load(s) size and where it is travelling from/to, it may not be possible as each load is assessed individually.
In order to apply for a Quarterly Dispensation, please use Abnormal Load Quarterly Dispensation Application form. Alternatively, you can apply through ESDAL, Cascade etc.
Quarterly Dispensation Applications can be emailed to us at OSDAbnormalLoadsScotland@scotland.police.uk or can be posted to the Abnormal Loads Team at Detroit Road, Glenrothes, KY8 2RJ.
We will respond using the same form of communication as we received your application form. A blank application form can be posted to you upon request.
In order for the team to issue a Quarterly Dispensation, Police Scotland requires a route plan for all journeys.
We need to be able to see clearly from A to B where the load will be travelling, an example of this is as follows:
Grangemouth to Hamilton - CENTRAL DOCK ROAD, NORTH SHORE ROAD, UNCLASSIFIED, A904, M9, M876, M80, Junction 4, M73, M74, Junction 5, A725, A724, arrive at destination.
Please be aware this scheme only applies in Scotland. If granted this does not remove your requirement to notify partner agencies such as Local Councils, Network Rail, Amey etc.
This agreement will only cover the route specified on the dispensation. When travelling outwith Scotland, you will still need to follow the normal process for notification within England.
A VR1 is any abnormal load that exceeds 5m but does not exceed 6.1m in width.
A Special Order is any abnormal load that exceeds 6.1m in width and/or 30m long in rigid length when loaded and/or exceeds 150,000kgs.
If your load exceeds STGO category and requires a VR1 or Special Order, the application for this must be sent to Transport Scotland. If your movement commences in England and will be travelling to Scotland, you should apply to Highways England.
Only once you have been granted a VR1 or Special Order you should then notify Police Scotland and any other relevant police force whose area you will pass through.
The Abnormal Loads Team will respond with any requirements for the load to move i.e. a Police Escort may be necessary
The Abnormal Loads Team, is open Mon-Fri 8.30am – 3.30pm, excluding public holidays. If you need to contact us, please email OSDAbnormalLoadsScotland@scotland.police.uk. Alternatively if you would like to speak to a member of the team, please call 01592 418859.