Larger trucks on UK roads could soon be a reality. The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched two consultations on the introduction of heavier and longer heavy goods vehicles to reduce haulage miles, increase fleet efficiency and reduce emissions.
The first stage builds on the success of ongoing trials of longer semi-trailers (LSTs) and will seek views on their permanent operation.
LST trials have been underway for seven years and DfT stated that in the last 12 months, the 2,600 vehicles involved have saved truck drivers 33.5 million miles and 48,000 tonnes of CO2 – equivalent to taking over 20,000 cars off the road. Results also showed that LSTs were involved in fewer personal injury collisions compared with standard size HGVs.
DfT has also announced a proposal for trials that would increase the current maximum weight limit of lorries on UK roads by four tonnes to 48, and up maximum length by two metres. LSTs can currently carry an additional three rows of supermarket goods cages on each journey when compared to existing trailers, but without exceeding the current weight limit. An increase to permitted weight, said DfT, would enable lorries to transport heavier containers directly to or from freight trains. This would help move more cargo from road-only journeys on to rail.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, said, “Our freight industry keeps the country moving, delivering vital goods and services every single day – which, as we all know, has never been more important than it is now, during the pandemic. These trials clearly show the benefits for business and the environment of using longer trailers.
“By determining the next steps to get LSTs on our roads permanently,” he continued, “we can benefit industry and our economy, boost safety and cut emissions.”