INVITE: Longer goods vehicle trial extended
More freight operators will be offered the chance to join a 10-year trial enabling them to use longer goods vehicles on UK roads.
Transport Minister Stephen Hammond confirmed the government’s Longer Semi-Trailer Trial would now be extended a year on from its launch.
When the trial began in 2012, freight operators were encouraged to bid for a share of 1,800 vehicle allocations, but around 1,250 allocations currently remain unused.
The changes, which follow a four-week consultation, mean unused allocations will be made available for other operators who are not in the trial.
This process will offer operators who were unsuccessful in obtaining longer semi-trailer allocations first time round, the opportunity to apply for permits to operate them.
Existing longer semi-trailer permit holders can also now apply for additional allocations without having to wait until the unused allocations are put back into the ‘allocation pot’.
Permits allow operators to run articulated lorries up to two metres longer than existing, standard articulated vehicles.
Mr Hammond said: “Freight operators play a crucial role in ensuring the wheels of our economy remain well-oiled by supporting UK trade and industry and transporting the goods we need.
“Longer semi-trailers enable freight companies to transport more goods, more efficiently, and should give significant economic and environmental benefits.
“We want to maximise their use during the trail to ensure we properly assess the benefits.”
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Freight Transport Association (FTA) have both backed the move.
Jack Semple, Director of Policy at the RHA, said: “Strong demand for permits has been evident from members across the industry, not least from enquiries to the online permit exchange service that the RHA has operated since the initial allocation.
“We welcome this new permit availability, both for existing operators and for those who wish to use longer trailers for the first time.”
A recent survey of FTA members who have permits demonstrated that the appetite for longer vehicles remains strong.
Three-quarters (78%) of respondents said they would reapply should any surplus be reallocated, while 82% claimed they would apply for additional allocations if they were made available.
James Hookham, Managing Director for Policy and Communications at the FTA, said: “The FTA supports the trial of longer semi-trailers, as there are significant environmental and efficiency benefits on offer from deploying these vehicles.
“This is not a vehicle for all sectors and will be most beneficial on journeys where the goods carried are high volume, low weight as vehicle fill can be improved.
“The revised re-allocation process will allow those operators who can put these trailers into use on work for which they are suitable to obtain permits in a more timely manner, thus securing an essential contribution to industry’s carbon reduction programme.”
Image courtesy of lism, with thanks.