A number of roads and bridges within Essex are subject to Weight Restriction Orders. These orders make it an offence (subject to certain exemptions) to drive a vehicle through a restriction when the maximum weight of the vehicle exceeds that stated.
Weight Restriction Orders are imposed to preserve either the character or amenities of an area, or to restrict access for heavy vehicles where they may pose a danger to pedestrians, buildings, bridges or the road infrastructure. There are limited exemptions to Weight Restriction Orders, in order to allow access to collect or deliver goods or carry out maintenance. However, there is no right of access where a Weight Restriction Order protects a weakened structure.
Weight Restriction Orders are enforced across the county by the Police and Trading Standards through regular checks. Enforcement action for breaching a weight restriction order could range from a written warning to drivers and operators, through to simple cautions and prosecution in court. Drivers and operators could receive fines of up to £1,000 with costs.
Breaches of Weight Restriction Orders can be avoided by ensuring you are aware of the plated weight and axle weight of your vehicle. You can also weigh your vehicle to familiarise yourself with its operating weight at one of the public weighbridges located across the county.
If you suspect that a Weight Restriction Order is being breached, contact Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0845 404 0506. You will be asked to provide the registration number of the vehicle you suspect of breaching the order, together with the location of the breach, date and time.
A guide to lorry weights is available to assist you in determining if an order has been breached.