Inland Waterway Freight Routes for abnormal indivisible loads


To view a map of Inland Waterway Freight Routes for abnormal indivisible loads ... click here

An abnormal indivisible load means a large or heavy object which is indivisible into smaller parts without undue expense or risk of damage and, when placed on a vehicle, results in the attributes of that vehicle exceeding the normal legal restrictions on maximum vehicle dimensions or weight. The Secretary of State for Transport individually authorises the movement by road in Great Britain of the largest and heaviest abnormal indivisible loads that are any combination of the following: over 150 tonnes gross vehicle weight; over 30 metres rigid length; or over 5 metres wide. This is because these loads cause significant traffic congestion and disruption to road users and require greater safety mitigation.

In 2002 the Government announced its intention to adopt a water preferred policy, extending the existing policy of using coastal ports to include the use of inland waterways. The aim of which was to take slow-moving abnormal loads off the road network offering real benefits in terms of reducing disruption and congestion.

Formally the policy amounted to two actions:
(i)When the largest abnormal loads were to be moved, the possibility for moving by inland water had to be considered.
(ii) If an inland water move was practical, economic and environmentally desirable, permission would be refused for the load to travel by road only.

To assist both those that move or have a requirement to move the largest and heaviest Highways England who administer the policy on behalf of the Department for Transport have issued a guidance document which clearly sets out the process that applicants are asked to go though

Furthermore Highways England have been working with the CRT and CBOA to develop a map which highlights the availability of inland waterway infrastructure. The map details wharfs that should be considered when assessing the feasibility of use of the inland waterway network for the movement of the largest and heaviest abnormal indivisible loads.

It should be seen as a useful aid to assist initial thinking and provide a starting point for discussion with navigation authorities and infrastructure owners, tt is not a map detailing every on/off loading opportunity on the network but it is a good starting point.

The movement of the largest and heaviest abnormal indivisible loads via the inland waterway network requires the use of specialist craft, CBOA members Robert Wynn & Sons are amongst the small number of operators who have available such craft and can be contacted via the CBOA members listings.