Onshore wind: policy statement 2022
Sets out our ambition to deploy 20GW of onshore wind by 2030, as well as details on the formation of an onshore wind strategic leadership group, who will develop an onshore wind sector deal.
Annex 6: Abnormal Loads Fact Sheet
Abnormal Indivisible Loads are, by definition, a load being carried on a public road which exceeds a defined length, and hence could prove hazardous. Given the nature of wind turbine components, the movement of these parts will frequently trigger the Abnormal Indivisible Loads requirements.
Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, any abnormal load movement on public road in Scotland must be escorted by a specially trained police officer. This puts additional pressure on both Police Scotland and hauliers, as well as the wind energy sector's ability to deploy at scale in Scotland.
There are several misconceptions about the legal position concerning abnormal loads in Scotland, which this fact sheet aims to provide clarity on.
Police Scotland provide detailed information on their website on moving an abnormal load, which we would recommend stakeholders review in the first instance. This is available here.
Stop and direct powers are primarily contained in the Road Traffic Act 1988 (the 1988 Act). Sections 35, 37 and 163 of the 1988 Act provide that the police can stop and direct vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians and require them to proceed in a particular direction and it is an offence not to comply with these directions. Following the 2004 amendment to the Road Traffic Act, Traffic Officers have powers to stop and direct vehicles on public roads, but this only applies in England and Wales.
In Scotland the 1988 Act remains unamended and hence uniformed police officers are the only individuals who can legally stop and direct traffic in Scotland.
Frequently Asked Questions – Abnormal Loads
1. How much resource is typically required for abnormal load escorts for onshore wind farms?
Every request for an abnormal load escort is assessed on a case-by-case basis in Scotland. Whilst Police Scotland do have a standard approach to this, it is not possible to estimate a set resource requirement and site-specific variations are a key consideration, such as turbine type and height and geographic considerations.
2. What does an abnormal load escort usually entail?
Escorting Abnormal Loads is not a core part of Police Scotland work and is reliant on specifically trained officers undertaking these tasks, sometimes as overtime. What each movement will entail may vary area to area and is very much dependent on the nature of the roads being used. Safety is the predominant concern.
3. Why do different regions of Scotland have separate approaches to abnormal load escorts?
Abnormal loads must be escorted by trained, uniformed police officers in Scotland. However, what that escort consists of is based on site-specific variables which can include a range of factors such as; size and scale of the movement, minimising impacts to local communities, quality of roads system, commercial factors, traffic considerations, and maintaining health and safety, etc.
4. What is different legislatively for self-escorts of abnormal loads in Scotland compared to other regions of the UK?
Following the 2004 amendment to the Road Traffic Act, Traffic Officers (also known as Highway Officers, and are not police officers) have powers to stop and direct vehicles on public roads, but this only applies in England and Wales. In Scotland the 1988 Act remains unamended and hence uniformed police officers are the only individuals who can legally stop and direct traffic in Scotland.
5. Can there be changes to the legislation to enable self-escorts? What role do The Scottish Government, Police Scotland, and other stakeholders have to play?
Such an approach could help in alleviating the pressure on Police Scotland, but any proposal to broadly mirror this approach, would cover a relatively complex legal landscape with a number of legislative competency boundaries which are untested in this regard.
The Scottish Government have formed 'The Abnormal Loads Legislative Reform Sub-group' (ALLR), in collaboration with Scottish Renewables and Police Scotland. The group is exploring potential options for legislative change in Scotland to allow abnormal loads to be moved more efficiently. This will be a potentially complex and time-consuming process which may have implications far beyond the transportation of wind turbine components and renewable energy technologies in Scotland.
6. What can, and does, affect an abnormal loads escort resource availability?
Safety factors such as weather conditions, sickness or other unexpected absences (e.g. court requirements), haulier availability, unexpected roadworks on major trunk roads (additional permissions can be required in these circumstances), unexpected major incidents and significant pre-planned events can impact police resources.
7. What process should be followed when engaging with relevant stakeholders on abnormal load matters?
In the first instance please contact Scottish Renewables and RenewableUK with any concerns or queries relating to the abnormal load process and information on who to contact regarding specific issues. Scottish Renewables and RenewableUK will funnel the information or query provided to the relevant stakeholders or group(s). In order to prevent duplication of effort and redirection of limited resource, Scottish Government should only be contacted in relation to an abnormal loads issue when stakeholders have followed the above process and considered any response received to be unacceptable.
8. What are we doing to streamline/improve the processes around abnormal load escorts in Scotland?
The Scottish Government, Police Scotland and Scottish Renewables, in collaboration with RenewableUK, are continuing to engage with industry and hauliers via the three established groups tackling abnormal load movement escorts:
1. Practitioners Group
(SR, OEMs, Scottish Government, Police Scotland, RUK, Hauliers)
2. Stakeholders Group
(SR, Scottish Government, Police Scotland, RUK)
3. Abnormal Loads Legislative Reform (ALLR) sub-group
(SR, Scottish Government, Police Scotland, RUK, Legal representatives)
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback