Progress made on abnormal loads enforcement

By Categories: NewsPublished On: Friday 5 July 2024

Trade associations representing the heavy trans­port sector have secured commitments from police chiefs that updated guidance will be published on procedure around abnormal loads, following com­plaints by fleet operators of increased restrictions and inconsistent application of rules by police forces.

The news followed a meeting last month between representatives of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Heavy Transport Association (HTA), and the operational lead for roads at the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

Issues addressed at the meeting included the practice of police charging for the escort of abnor­mal loads, and the update to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) guidance on the subject, which the NPCC has now committed to publishing by the end of 2024.

The RHA said the commitment was “welcome news” and that the publication of guidance had been a long-term ask of the Abnormal Loads Group, which is led by RHA and HTA.

“This updated document will aim to address many of the issues faced by the industry including the var­iance in enforcement practices from police forces,” said the RHA.

“As part of this process, a meeting will take place on 6 November with police leaders and industry representatives to review the updated guidance and provide feedback.

“The intention of NPCC is to simplify and shorten the guidance to avoid different interpretations. Fur­ther information on this will be provided in the com­ing months.”

At the June meeting, the associations outlined further examples from fleet operators suggesting that increasing numbers of police forces had been mandating the use of escorts for abnormal load movements.

“The NPCC committed to mak­ing enquiries with the police forc­es in question and suggested the updated guidance will help ad­dress the ongoing issues faced,” said the RHA.

“We will continue to keep mem­bers updated on ongoing conver­sations with police leaders.

“Operators continue to seek further clarifications on regu­lations from different forces to stress the need for consistency to ensure they can move loads efficiently.”

It urged operators encoun­tering inconsistencies in police approaches to abnormal loads to make contact, so that it could relay concerns to the relevant au­thorities.

RHA had previously warned that in some instances, police forces were charging for abnor­mal load escort services even when they were not required.

“We’ve led a lot of work over the past year to address these concerns,” it said last month.

“Our economic impact assess­ment on these actions concluded that they’re costing the econo­my up to an estimated £574m a year.”