Weight limits

Hgv image 1 (under 7.5 tonne)
This vehicle would not be excluded by a 7.5 tonne weight limit

Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV's) - goods vehicles over 3.0 tonnes maximum gross weight - are a key part of the national transport network. They transport a wide range of goods for delivery to both residential and commercial properties.

HGV's are encouraged to use designated routes in accordance with Swindon's freight route map for the majority of their movements around the town. Some destinations however, may be located off more minor roads and residential roads.

Environmental weight limits may be imposed to manage the impact of larger goods vehicles travelling through a specified area or route. They can only be used to control the movements of HGVs in excess of 7.5 tonnes or in excess of 18 tonnes maximum gross weight. All restrictions are based on the maximum gross weight of the vehicle, this is the maximum permitted weight of the vehicle when fully loaded. Empty HGV's or those with part loads, are still subject to the prohibition.

The introduction of an environmental weight limit to manage HGV movements will only be considered where:

  • HGV flows exceed those on comparable roads
  • the route is not considered part of the strategic road network 

However, all environmental weight limits have certain exemptions which allow access by:

  • vehicles making deliveries or collections at premises within the restriction
  • vehicles working on or near the roads in question
  • emergency service and military vehicles
  • buses, coaches and other 'public service vehicles'
  • other heavy vehicles that are not goods vehicles

Where introduced, the enforcement of an environmental weight limit is a Police matter.

HGV image 2 (over 7.5 tonne)

Vehicles of this size and larger would be excluded by a 7.5 tonne weight limit, but not excluded from an 18 tonne weight limit

If the decision is taken to introduce a weight limit this will require the introduction of a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO), which involves a statutory process. Please see the Traffic Regulation Orders webpage for further information.

Where weight limits are not applicable but the use of a route by HGV's is not always appropriate, it may be feasible to consider the use of signs advising 'unsuitable for HGV's'. These signs are advisory and will be considered for use only on roads that are narrow and/or include tight bends and where there is evidence of damage to adjacent property as a result of HGV’s. If you think these signs are required and the location meets the above criteria, contact your local Ward Councillor.

There may not always be a suitable alternative route for HGV's to use and therefore the introduction of a weight limit or signs deterring HGV's, may simply not be possible.

Use of Satnav

The increasing use of "Satnav's" has caused a number of problems nationally for all parties concerned. The haulage associations encourage members to use Satnavs designed specifically for HGV's and that consider vehicle size and highway restrictions into route choices. The use of HGV specific Satnav's however are not mandatory. In addition, problems can occur when information used by Satnavs is not complete or inaccurate and when maps are not regularly updated to reflect changes on the highway. Unfortunately, because the information used by these Satnavs is uncontrolled, there is limited opportunity to influence what directions are given to drivers and there is nothing Swindon Borough Council can do directly to address these issues.

Swindon Borough Council is an active member of the Wiltshire and Swindon Freight Quality Partnership. Local HGV-related matters can be raised at this forum to discuss and identify possible solutions with freight operators and trade industry representatives.

Structural weight limits

Structural weight limits apply to all types of vehicle including buses. Applied only to protect weak bridges or weak roads, they can be introduced over a wider range of maximum gross vehicle weights.

Recommended HGV routes

The following map of the recommended routes in Swindon is available to download:

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