Cranes come in lots of configurations. Mobile cranes are cranes that can travel to a workplace or a construction site to undertake work that is either impossible using other means or would take too long.

Mobile cranes by definition are cranes that:

  • are specifically designed for lifting
  • are heavier than 12,000kg
  • have crane apparatus permanently mounted to a vehicle chassis
  • are operated by a driver
  • meet the requirements to be registered as a mobile crane

STGO defines a mobile crane as:

  • a motor vehicle that’s specially designed or built to carry out lifting operations – that can’t safely be carried out by a motor vehicle or trailer – which complies with C&U Regs, AW Regs and Goods Vehicle Type Approval Regs
  • it’s gross weight exceeds 12,000 kgs per axle
  • a motor vehicle which has a crane permanently mounted as part of the vehicle chassis design (the definition excludes lorry mounted cranes)
  • it’s operated by the driver or other person riding on it
  • it complies with Part 4 of Schedule 1 of Vehicle Excise & Registration Act 1994, as a mobile crane

A mobile crane, which does not meet all these criteria, may be defined as engineering plant.


Category A:

  • maximum gross weight of 20,000 kgs on 2 axles
  • maximum gross weight of 30,000 kgs on 3 axles
  • maximum gross weight of 36,000 kgs on 4 axles
  • maximum of 4 axles
  • maximum of 11,500 kgs on a single driving axle
  • maximum of 10,000 kgs on a single non-driving axle
  • speed limits:
  • motorway 60 mph
  • dual carriageway 50 mph
  • other roads 40 mph

Category B:

  • maximum axle weight of 12,500 kgs
  • maximum gross weight of 12,500 kgs multiplied by the number of axles
  • speed limits:
  • motorway 50 mph
  • dual carriageway 45 mph
  • other roads 40 mph

Category C:

  • maximum axle weight of 16,500 kgs
  • maximum gross weight of 16,500 kgs multiplied by the number of axles: up to a maximum of 150,000 kgs
  • speed limits:
  • motorway 40 mph
  • dual carriageway 35 mph
  • other roads 30 mph


Mobile cranes with a gross weight of more than 80,000 kgs – but not exceeding 150,000 kgs – must give:

  • 2 days’ notice to the Police
  • 5 days’ notice to the road and bridge authorities

Vehicles weighing under 80 tonnes must give 2 days’ notification to the roads and bridges authorities.

Those between 80 and 150 tonnes must give:

  • 2 days’ notice to the Police
  • 5 days’ notice to the roads and bridges authorities

Vehicles over 150 tonnes need to give special notification, which means:

  • 5 days’ notice to all authorities
  • 10 weeks’ consultation time with the owners of structures such as bridges and tunnels that have weight restrictions

If the STGO vehicle is over 3.05 metres, you need to tell the Police regardless of the weight of the vehicle.

Vehicle Excise Duty

A mobile crane is taxable in the ‘special vehicle’ class (sub-category mobile crane) at the same rate as the basic goods vehicle.

Plating and testing

Since May 2018, mobile cranes are no longer exempt from the plating and testing regulations.

Drivers’ hours and tachograph regulations

Drivers of mobile cranes do not have to follow EU drivers’ hours and tachograph regulations or GB domestic drivers’ hour’s rules. This is because they are not carrying goods or passengers by road. If goods were carried then the normal rules would apply. You can find out more in the guide to Drivers’ hours and tachographs rules: goods vehicles (GV262).

Driving licence

Drivers of mobile cranes must have a category C vocational licence qualification.

Other conditions

Mobile cranes must be fitted with an amber illuminating beacon, cannot draw a trailer, and must not carry any goods or burden (except if used for or to help lifting).

Mobile Cranes Notification

The noti­fi­ca­tion require­ments for mobile cranes can be found in the Road Vehi­cles (Autho­ri­sa­tion of Spe­cial Types) (Gen­eral) Order 2003, Statu­tory Instru­ment 1998 – Part 2 (Arti­cles 10 to 18).

Source – DVSA