Somerset County Council

Apply for a weight limit


A weight limit allows us as the Highway Authority to prohibit and restrict the movement of heavy goods vehicles. This requires us making a Traffic Regulation Order which gives the police the power to enforce a weight restriction.

You can apply for a weight limit by using the button below.

Apply now

The introduction of a weight restriction on a public road will be considered either for environmental protection (for example, a narrow village road) or where there is a need to protect a structure (for example, a bridge or culvert) from the effects of heavy goods vehicles. Where a weight restriction is considered necessary, consideration must be given to a suitable alternative route and the likely effect on other communities. 

Any organisation, council or statutory undertaker can request the introduction of a formal weight restriction. 

The Road Traffic Act 1984 and amendments gives powers to us to impose Traffic Regulation Orders. Such orders are subject to legal procedures which are specified in the Local Authorities Traffic Orders (procedure) Regulations 1996 and all restrictions must be signed in accordance with the Traffic Regulations and General Directions 2002. Please see Information and Resources for these documents.

There is an exemption scheme for Bruton and Langport. Traffic Regulation Orders are in place for both of these areas. They also provide for the issue of exemption permits which allow a vehicle over 7.5 tonnes to pass through the restricted length of road. This arrangement is intended to ensure that local businesses are not adversely affected and avoids a long detour around the restricted length of road.

Abnormal loads

Notify us about an abnormal load movement. Please include the 'from' and 'to' addresses, the length, height and width, the axle weights and axle spacing, the route and the nature of the load. We will check any proposed route to make sure it is suitable for abnormal loads. You should also contact the police for approval, and to provide an escort where necessary.

Please email us using the details below. There is a national project to assist hauliers of abnormal loads. ESDAL

We receive notifications of large freight movements. These are processed to ensure highway integrity is not substantially diminished and to avoid risk or conflict with highway features and other vehicles.

A vehicle will be classed as an abnormal load where, typically one or more of the following vehicle dimensions are exceeded:

  • Axle weight greater than 11.5 tonnes weight 
  • 44 tonnes weight 
  • 12ft wide (3.65m) 
  • 70ft long (21.33m) 
  • 15ft high (4.57m)    

Our responsibility for highway maintenance is limited to the traffic normally permitted on the road. The haulier responsible for moving the abnormal load must carry the responsibility for any problem that might be caused as a result of the 'abnormal load movement'. For this reason hauliers are required to notify us, in advance, of any abnormal load movement and to indemnify us against any problem that might occur as a result.

The legislation stipulates the days of notice required: 

  • 2 clear days for 44 tonnes up to 80 tonnes 
  • 5 clear days for 80 tonnes to 150 tonnes 
  • 150 tonnes+ require a special order as specified in the Special Type (General Order) 2003    

We will reject a movement notification if we are not given enough notice. 

Indemnities may be provided annually or per movement (signed) as specified in the Special Type (General Order) 2003.

An abnormal load would normally be moved by a specialist haulier. General freight is not covered by the definition of Abnormal Indivisible load.

Laws and regulation 

opsi : Special Type (General Order) 2003 


Contact: Roads and Transport Team
Phone: 0300 123 2224
Opening Hours: Monday 8am to 6pm, Tuesday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm, Saturday and Sunday closed.

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