Submitting Abnormal Load Notifications via ESDAL is not mandatory.

It has come to our attention that a number of highway and police authorities have issued or propose to issue circulars to hauliers and plant operators requiring abnormal load notifications to be submitted solely through the Highways England's ESDAL website.
 
Any such requirement has no basis in law.
 
The current legislation governing abnormal load notifications is 'The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003' (the STGO). There are no powers under the STGO to allow authorities to require the ESDAL website to be the sole means of transmitting abnormal load notifications
 
Any abnormal load notification submitted to a highway or police authority which complies with the requirements of the STGO is a valid notification. There are no powers under the STGO to allow authorities to require the ESDAL website to be the sole means of transmitting abnormal load notifications to highway and police authorities.
 
Highways England that runs the ESDAL portal has always been quite clear that it has no intention of sponsoring legislation to make the use of ESDAL compulsory. In recent years several authorities have suggested this, and also that hauliers should be charged for notifications, and have discovered in due course that neither of these options are possible or legal.
 
Indeed, it is sometimes not fully appreciated that the whole notification process to highway authorities is instituted solely for the benefit of those authorities, the protection of their highway assets and their bridge stocks in particular, and not for the benefit of hauliers and plant operators.
 
Cascade Software view such circulars extremely seriously, as they amount to positive discrimination and restraint of trade against Cascade's core software business. Issued on behalf of a public authority they are completely wrong and ultra vires, and if not withdrawn will result in Cascade taking further action.
 
Cascade Software has been writing software for both highway authorities and abnormal load hauliers for sending, receiving, processing and checking abnormal load notifications for nearly 20 years, and our software is used by or on behalf of many Highways Agency Areas and major abnormal load operators such as Ainscough Cranes. We are a member and committee member of the Heavy Transport Association and we are generally recognised as experts in the notification field.

January 2014