Skip to main content

Shipping: Abnormal Loads

Volume 692: debated on Tuesday 5 June 2007

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Transport (Stephen Ladyman) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

I have today published a consultation paper for the attention of stakeholders seeking views on proposed new guidelines to clarify and support the Government’s “water preferred” policy of using water for the transport of abnormal indivisible loads.

Since the 1970s, the Government have had a stated policy of using coastal shipping for moving the largest and heaviest abnormal loads. This was extended in 2002 to include the use of inland waterways wherever practical, economic and environmentally desirable. The “water preferred” policy encourages taking slow-moving abnormal loads off the road network, offering real benefits in terms of reducing disruption and congestion. The consultation is aimed at clarifying how the policy is applied and to provide greater transparency of the decision-making process.

Further information on the consultation is available from the Highways Agency Website at

Those wishing to comment on the proposals have until 28 August 2007 to do so.

Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the Library of the House.