Highways - information for drivers

This section of the website is designed to help those people who drive in or through Cumbria.

You will find some basic advice for driving in winter conditions and a copy of our leaflet 'Glovebox guide to winter driving in Cumbria', which outlines the road gritting sequence.  

When a haulier wants to move an abnormal load of over 40 tonnes gross weight, they must notify us of the routes that they intend to use. Our consent must be obtained before the load is moved.

For vehicles over 80 tonnes gross weight, we require five working days notice.

For vehicles over 40 but less than 80 tonnes gross weight, we require two working days.

We will check the proposed route against our records to ensure that the load can be accommodated. If it is not suitable, then an alternative route will be required. It is the responsibility of the applicant to survey the proposed route and ensure its suitability before submitting a notice.

Any request for an abnormal load movement check through a proposed route must include an indemnity insurance to ensure that the cost of repairing the damage to the highway caused by transporting the abnormal load can be recovered.

Notice must be submitted to:

Cumbria County Council - Abnormal Loads 
Cumbria County Council
The Parkhouse Building
Kingmoor Business Park

Email: abnormalloads@cumbria.gov.uk
Telephone:    01228 221887

For further information, visit the Gov.uk Electronic Service Delivery for Abnormal Loads (ESDAL) website

Alley gating is a method of controlling access to the back lanes to properties / premises, for residents, service personnel and other authorised people. This is achieved by the installation of lockable gates placed at strategic locations within the alleyways. The installation of alleygates leads to :

Less - burglary,theft, litter/fly tipping, fire, anti-social behaviour
More - private space, control, road safety 

This in turn leads to a cleaner and safer environment, improved community spirit and reduced waste management costs for local authorities.  

Areas considered for alley gates will be prioritised and zones selected by the Alleygate Partnership Group, using local statistics from the police, fire service, district councils' environmental health teams and the county council's community unit, which have the highest numbers of:

Domestic burglaries/break ins at the rear of properties in the area over previous years 

  1. Areas with a high incidence of arson and anti-social fires e.g. Wheelie-bin fires
  2. Reports of anti-social behaviour including drug dealing/usage
  3. Reports of dog fouling, fly tipping and graffiti in the area        

Upon selection of a proposed zone the county council will facilitate the consultation exercise with residents of the relevant streets to seek agreement. There will be 3 methods of consultation: letter, public meeting and door-to-door; and in cases where the back lane is public highway, by formal statutory notices.

General consensus will be required with a high percentage of residents agreeable to the installation of gates.

The brown and white tourism signs guidance document (PDF 8MB) explains the Brown and White tourism signing policy for Cumbria, how it is applied, the processes involved and the criteria needed to be met by applicants.

It also contains the application form which needs to be completed when applying for a brown and white tourism sign.

Cumbria County Council has received funding from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to help expand the network of Electric Vehicle charge points in Cumbria.

Electric Vehicle charge points for public use are available at the following locations:

TownLocationPostcodeCharger Type
CarlisleOpposite Rural Payments Agency, Lowther StreetCA3 8QGRapid 50KW Fast 7KW
KendalCar park at County Offices, Busher WalkLA9 4RQRapid 50KW Fast 7KW
WorkingtonCar park at Allerdale House, Griffin StreetCA14 3YJRapid 50KW Fast 7KW
WhitehavenSenhouse Street car park, Senhouse StreetCA28 7ESRapid 50KW
KeswickCentral Car Park, Heads RoadCA12 5DFRapid 50KW Fast 7KW
UlverstonBrewery Street car park, Brewery StreetLA12 7HURapid 50KW
Kirkby StephenChristian Head car park, Christian HeadCA17 4HARapid 50KW
Kirkby LonsdaleNew Road car park, New RoadLA6 2ADRapid 50KW
AmblesideLow Fold car park, Lake RoadLA22 0DNRapid 50KW

The charging service is provided by ChargePoint Services Ltd.

Regular users will need to register on the ChargePoint Genie website. There is a one-off fee of £20 for registration and registered users will receive an RFID card. Charge Point Genie has set the tariff for registered users at £0.30 per KWH.  There is no separate connection charge for use of the points listed in the table.

The chargers can also be accessed on a Pay As You Go basis via the ChargePoint Genie mobile phone app which is available for free download from the Apple App store.

Details of the services and tariff are shown on the labels on the charge points.

For further information or advice on how to use the charge points please contact ChargePoint Services on 020 3598 4087 or email geniesupport@chargepointservices.com

A map showing locations of the ChargePoint Genie chargers and real time operating information is shown on the ChargePoint Genie site and also on the App.

The following links show the locations of the electric charge points in Cumbria and conditions of each charge point.

The links are not County Council links and no guarantee can be given regarding the accuracy of the information.

It is advised that the locations given are contacted prior to visiting.

Zap-Map Website

Open Charge Map Website

National Charge Point Registry UK

This guide contains a series of HGV Network Maps for Cumbria which have been developed to assist drivers of Heavy Goods Vehicles and Large Goods Vehicles to navigate through the county with a minimum of disruption or delay.  The routes that have been highlighted were selected according to their suitability to carry large vehicles.  Deviation for those routes indicated on the maps, except for the purposes of gaining access, is not recommended.

HGV routes in Cumbria

Highway code new rules - January 2022

On 29 January 2022 eight new rules are being introduced, along with 49 updates to existing rules, to better protect more vulnerable road users.

The main new rules are as follows.

Rule H1 - The hierarchy of road users

This is the most significant change and says that road users who can do the greatest harm (those driving large vehicles) have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they pose to other road users.

The new hierarchy of road users are:

  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Horse riders
  • Motorcyclists
  • Cars/taxis
  • Vans/minibuses
  • Large passenger vehicles/heavy goods vehicles

Rule H2 - for drivers, motorcyclists, horse drawn vehicles, horse riders and cyclists

This gives a new priority for pedestrians at junctions, and states:

  • At a junction you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning.
  • You MUST give way to pedestrians on or waiting to cross a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists on or waiting to cross a parallel crossing.
  • Horse riders should also give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing.
  • Wait to turn near cyclists or horse riders.

Rule H3: New priority for cyclists when cars are turning

This rules states that other road users should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles going ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane.

It says that you should not turn at a junction if to do so would cause the cyclist, horse rider or horse drawn vehicle going straight ahead to stop or swerve. You should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary.

To see the eight changes.

To see the full table of changes.

To visit the Highway Code website.

The Highway code booklet Highway code with logos New rules highway code

Working in partnership with the agricultural industry Cumbria County Council is keen to work in partnership with farmers and agricultural contractors to help ensure that a number of maintenance issues which affect the highway are attended to. Our guide to farming and the public highway highlights a number of areas where working together can greatly help the county council sustain a safe and serviceable highway network for all users. The council, like the farming community, is subject to change and therefore it is important that we try, wherever possible, to work jointly in order to meet respective areas of responsibility in the most effective way.

Farming and the Public Highway booklet (PDF 661kb)

Weight restrictions can be imposed for structural or for environmental reasons. It is a legal control imposed on vehicles above a specified weight or width, on specific roads and routes.
The restriction prevents lorries from using inappropriate roads, routes and areas in order to:

  • Reduce danger to pedestrians and other road users  
  • Prevent damage to buildings, roads and bridges  
  • Preserve the character, amenity and environment of an area  
  • Reduce and manage congestion on the roads  

Procedures for Implementation

Restrictions are subject to a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) and the associated procedures. 
Regulatory signs are erected on site to give effect to the TRO and to assist the police in carrying out its enforcement but they need to be backed up by widespread advisory signing giving early warnings to lorry drivers that a particular route or area is restricted.  


This is a matter for the police but they have limited resources to enforce this type of restriction.  Weight limits made on structural grounds usually apply to very short lengths of road and usually contain no exemptions.  Weight limits made on environmental grounds however usually apply to much longer lengths of road or areas surrounded by appropriate lorry routes.  Lorries still need to gain access to local shops, businesses and residential properties located within restricted lengths of roads and Traffic Regulation Orders therefore contain "except for access" or "except for loading" clauses which make them difficult to enforce.  For this reason enforcement commands a low priority and where possible, restrictions should be well signed to ensure that they are 'self enforcing' or, if necessary, physical measures introduced to prevent abuse.  Restrictions will only be introduced if there is a suitable alternative route for the displaced traffic and the displaced traffic does not create a problem elsewhere.

Additional Considerations

Where a Traffic Regulation Order restricts the use of a road, route or area to certain vehicles, drivers will need to be directed by signing to an alternative route.

Our Guide to winter driving in Cumbria leaflet (PDF 2.81MB) provides a map of the treated roads in the county to enable you to choose the best route for your journey. It also gives the following advice on winter driving.

Slow down, steer gently and use the highest gear you can. If you have to brake, use short, even applications, not heavy sustained pressure. Look out for other skid traps like frost and wet leaves. Always be conscious that 'black ice' may occur on winter roads. Black ice is a thin coating of ice on a roadway - while not truly black, it is transparent, allowing the roadway to be seen through it.

Use dipped headlights, keep your windscreen clear and drive so that you can stop in the distance you can see. Use rear fog lights if visibility is less than 100 metres.

Use dipped headlights, keep your speed down and keep well back from the vehicle in front. If you come to a flood, slow right down, but keep your revs high.

Slow down and use dipped headlights. Beware of slush on the road after a hail storm.

If the sun dazzles, reduce speed and use your visor. If your tyres won't grip, there may be a salt/grit heap or bin nearby. Spread salt/grit in front of your driving wheels and set off in the highest gear you can. If you are caught in heavy snow, wrap up warm and stay inside your vehicle if possible.

Be prepared

Your vehicle - keep it in good condition at all times and follow this checklist before you go out:

All lights clean and working, washer bottle full (use a little window antifreeze).

Clean mirrors and windows inside and out.

Tyres at the right pressure with plenty of tread.

Battery fully charged and topped up.                          

Your journey - don't take risks:

Watch the weather forecast and try to use gritted roads. (See the gritting list / map on our winter driving guide below).

Don't use roads which are closed - you will put yourself and others in danger and abandoned vehicles hamper snow clearance.      

Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive.

Do not use a mobile phone while driving. Stop somewhere safe or ask a passenger to make the call.                        

Your survival kit - keep these things in your car:

Thick jumper, warm coat, boots, thick gloves, blanket, mobile phone, hot drink in a flask, energy boosting food, cloth, pen, good torch and a shovel.

If possible, include a tow rope, jump leads, some sand and a solid wooden board for the jack.

If you have to leave your vehicle to get help, make sure other drivers can see you.