Weight limits and restrictions
Weight limits are used to prevent lorries with a gross weight of more than 7.5 tonnes, known as Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) from using roads that are unsuitable. The aim being to improve the environment for residents and encourage walking and cycling.
Drivers and those responsible for running those services which require the transport of goods and services using HGVs, should always use and provide routes that are the most appropriate strategic roads and primary roads. Drivers should avoid using A and B roads and roads of a lower classification until absolutely necessary for access purposes, and where possible avoid environmentally sensitive areas. Leicestershire County Council also advocates the use of regularly updated HGV specific satellite navigation systems.
HGVs can cause problems for communities, such as:
- causing excessive noise and vibration when using small residential roads
- getting stuck on narrow roads
- causing traffic congestion on local roads
Although HGVs can be a problem, it is important to note that they’re essential in supporting local businesses and communities. In some cases, HGVs must use some unsuitable roads as access is required for local deliveries to certain businesses. Another reason could be due to the vehicle having out of date SatNav information and the driver being unfamiliar with the local area.
You can’t prevent HGVs from using your road as lorries are permitted to use any classification of road for access and deliveries.
A HGV weight limit prohibits any vehicle over the weight displayed on the sign to travel along a route. This type of constraint is usually for a structural weight limit, for example a weak bridge where an overweight vehicle passing may cause structural or other damage.
A HGV weight restriction prohibits vehicles over a certain weight, but with exceptions travelling along a route. These are sometimes known as environmental weight restrictions. These types of restrictions are designed to prevent HGVs regularly travelling through an area without stopping for deliveries or access. Buses are allowed to use weight restricted zones.
The County Council has very limited powers to deal with vehicles who are not abiding by weight restrictions, however this is enforced by the police.
If you believe a HGV to be contravening a weight restriction you can report this to the Police by calling 101 providing details of date, time, location (road name or number and village), direction of travel and identification of the vehicle (registration number or company name). The Police may not respond directly but will log and review the contravention and contact the Haulier or Company to confirm if the vehicle was legitimately travelling within the zone or not.
It is a misconception that an environmental weight restriction will stop all HGV traffic, HGVs can legally enter a weight restricted area to access a premises or to load/unload and once they have entered a zone they can legally exit that zone by any route.
Communities may wish to create a lorry watch type scheme where communities can report incidents of HGVs that are using unsuitable roads to the Parish Council for them to pass the collated information to the Police.
You can report a weight restriction breach by a vehicle in Leicestershire by using the online form: https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/road-maintenance/weight-restriction-monitoring