Vehicles which don’t comply with an STGO order can be used under Special Orders issued by either National Highways or the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) regarding special vehicles and divisible loads such as crane ballast outside the scope of C&U and STGO. 

These orders called Individual Vehicle Special Orders (IVSO) were previously known as Section 44 Permits.  

Vehicle Special Orders

The Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) are responsible for granting and maintaining individual Vehicle Special Orders under Section 44 of the UK Road Traffic Act 1988.

Section 44 orders may be either…

(1) Vehicle types contained within The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003 (Statutory Instrument 2003 No. 1998) (STGO);

This can be viewed on-line at the link below


(2) Individual Vehicle Special Orders (VSO) produced for applicants by VCA.

Please note that no individual order is required for vehicles meeting and operating under the permissive requirements of the Special Types General Order (1) above, as the conditions to be met are set out in the Statutory Instrument and any subsequent amendments.

When will an Individual VSO be issued?

Individual VSOs (2) are not issued simply because a vehicle cannot comply with UK Construction & Use (C&U) Regulations. An order is only issued when:

  1. Suitable information has  been provided by the applicant that sets out the processes that will be in place to ensure that appropriate safety issues and requirements are met; and
  • When and if the reasons for non-compliance with C&U regulations are justified and supported.

The applicant must provide full details as requested to enable VCA to make a valued decision. Individual VSO are required to allow the use on roads of a small number of vehicles, which are special by type or purpose. Most orders are made to allow vehicles outside the scope of the special types listed in the general order (1). These vehicles may for example, be for tests and trials, abnormal load movements, or “one off” specials.

How to apply

Follow this link if you wish to apply for a VSO to cover the use of a vehicle in the Longer Semi-Trailer trial

Please apply to VCA in writing at the address shown below with the following initial information.

a. Name and address of person / organisation making the application;

b. Details of persons / organisations who will be using the vehicles, if different from (a);

c. The number of vehicles involved

d. Type of vehicles involved their make, model, registration, and/or chassis (serial) numbers of motor vehicles or trailers. These will be listed on any order issued

e. Details of the vehicles e.g. number of axles, individual axle weights, and gross vehicle weights (both in kg), plus dimensions (in metres)

f. In the case of vehicle combinations, overall weights (in kg) and dimensions (in metres)

g. Details of the C&U Regulations with which the vehicles do not comply and the reasons why they cannot comply: The Regulations are specified on an Order and it should be made clear that failure to comply with non-specified Regulations, or supplying incorrect data would invalidate an Order.

Please note you may send this information to VCA as an Email, but please be aware that Email is not a secure medium, and as such, VCA cannot be held responsible for any loss of the data or subsequent misuse by a third party. Applications may also be submitted using surface mail, but this may introduce unnecessary delay.

VCA Office in the United Kingdom | Vehicle Certification Agency (

On receipt of your application

We will evaluate your application and contact you should further information be required. Various organisations including the Police, Local Authorities and other interested parties – both within and outside of the UK Department of Transport may be consulted – especially in respect of the conditions to be imposed. Following receipt of all information, and assuming that there are neither any technical reasons, nor objections from any of the parties consulted, an Order will be prepared and dispatched by email within 10 working days.

Once an Order has been issued

Orders are issued for varying periods and the discretion of the UK Department for Transport. Typically, they are issued for a period of up to 5 years. An example of an Order for a Land Train and associated guidance is below.

Vehicle Special Orders – Guidance for LAND TRAIN applications and operation

Source – VCA