The UK government has published new draft authorised weight regulations which will see zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) and alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) get a weight dispensation to take account of the heavier powertrain technology used on the vehicles, compared to diesel. The draft legislative instrument of the Road Vehicles (Authorized Weight) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 was published on 23 January 2023 and outlines an increase in gross vehicle weight of two tonnes for ZEVs and one tonne for AFVs. 

Currently, all commercial vehicles in the UK have a gross vehicle weight restriction that varies based on the axle configuration. The Road Vehicles (Authorised Weight) Regulations 1998 (S.I. 1998/3111) and the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (S.I. 1986/1078) provide current weight limitations. Because of existing maximum weight limit limits, the heavier equipment on AFVs and ZEVs means a payload penalty.


Richard Holden MP

The statutory instrument provides a weight limit increase of two tonnes for ZEVs and up to one tonne for AFVs (the weight dispensation for AFVs is determined by the weight of the additional fuelling technology). The change aims to incentivise the adoption of ZEVs by offering more weight allowances across a range of different configurations and accountis for the heavier weight of the batteries compared to the diesel equivalent. 

The 44-tonne maximum permitted gross vehicle weight remains the top weight allowed for articulated combinations, so no incentive for 3+3 artics. Similarly, maximum axle loadings remain unchanged from the current regulations. 

The proposals were consulted on in 2021 and a response confirming the intention to introduce the changes was published in May 2022. The statutory instrument was published in accordance with the procedure required by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and agreed with Parliament. The draft will be available for consideration under affirmative procedures in Parliament in 28 days.

Download the draft report here for further reading.