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Sat April 13 2024

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In crane hire? See you next Tuesday

28 Mar Mobile crane hire companies are being forced to shut for business for at least four days over Easter in England and Wales because police have banned them from the roads.

The widespread use of abnormal load embargoes by regional police forces has meant that running a crane hire business has been close to impossible in recent years.

The need for mobile cranes does not always conveniently arise during hours that suit the police – be that the erection of tower cranes or emergenices such as rescuing crashed trains.

However, in much of the country mobile cranes are no longer allowed on the roads between 7am and 9am in the morning and between 4pm and 6pm in the afternoon.

In London, the Met Police has banned all mobile cranes, even small two-axle ones, from the roads between 6am and 10am in the mornings on weekdays and between 3.30pm and 8pm in the evenings. At weekends and on bank holidays, cranes cannot move in London between 10.30am and 8pm.

So far, the Met Police does not appear to have been enforcing this, and crane companies in the capital have been able to keep operating only by flouting the law. However, it is understood that the Met intends to start enforcement action from April – next week.

This is not politicians deciding this, democratically. It is the police.

"It's madness," one crane hire boss told us. "The cops are on a power trip."

The issue is coming to a particular head today with many police forces running embargoes on abnormal loads from this afternoon (Thursday) until Tuesday 2nd April. (See below for details.)

Some areas of the country, including Greater Manchester, take a more relaxed attitude and only apply the embargo to mobile cranes of five-axles and above (typically 100-tonne class or bigger). Humberside excludes loads of less than 3.65 metres wide from the embargo.

This is not just a headache for crane hire companies; construction companies will soon be feeling the impact too, if they haven't already. Even for the shortest, simplest jobs, the hire companies are simply becoming unable to carry out same-day lifts. They will have to send cranes to site the day before (or bring them back the day after) and charge two full days rate for every job. And there is likely to be a shortage of cranes becasue of this.

Here is the a list of places where mobile cranes will not be able to operate this Easter (information supplied by Abnormal Load Logistics).

Devon &Cornwall Police: 3pm Thursday 28th March 2024 until 6.20am Tuesday 2nd April 2024

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Dorset Police:  3pm Thursday 28th March 2024 until 6:20am on Tuesday 2nd April 2024

Dyfed-Powys Police: 3pm Thursday 28th March 2024 until 7am Tuesday 2nd April 2024

Hampshire Constabulary : Noon, Thursday 28th March 2024 until 6am Tuesday 2nd April 2024

Lancashire Police: 4pm Thursday 28th March 2024 until 9:30am Tuesday 2nd April 2024

Norfolk & Suffolk Constabularies:  No movements during bank holidays

Northamptonshire Police:  No movements during bank holidays

North Wales Police:  6am Thursday 28th March until 1am Tuesday 2nd April 2024

Surrey & Sussex Police: Noon, Thursday 28th March 2024 until daylight on Tuesday 2nd April 2024

Staffordshire Police:  00:01am Friday 29th March until daylight on Tuesday 2nd April

Thames Valley Police: Noon, Friday 29th March until 06am Tuesday 2nd April 2024

West Midlands Police: 00.01am Friday 29th March until 9am Tuesday 2nd April 2024

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