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The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1988 (C&U) provide the basic law by which normal motor vehicles and trailers are built and operate on the road.

The movement of large or heavy loads that exceed dimensions set down in the C&U Regulations is permitted provided they comply with the Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003 (STGO). These are generally referred to as Abnormal Loads.

An abnormal indivisible load is one which cannot, without undue expense or risk of damage, be divided into 2 or more loads for the purpose of carriage and, on account of its length, width, height or weight, cannot be carried on a normal vehicle.

The dimensions of an abnormal load are as follows:


  • C & U Regs and STGO - Over 305 mm overhang on either side.
  • C & U Regs – Over 2.9 metres overall width.
  • STGO – Over 3metres overall width


  • C & U Regs – Over 18.65 metres rigid length.
  • STGO – Over 18.75 metres rigid length
  • C & U and STGO – Over 25.9 metres overall length
  • C & U and STGO – Over 3.05 metres overhang (Load) to front or rear.


  • C & U and STGO – Exceeding authorised weight for that class of vehicle (Generally 44 tonnes).

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.