Longer goods vehicles that increase productivity and reduce haulier emission levels could become a permanent fixture on Britain’s roads as the Government today (Monday 9 November) launches a consultation into their future.
Longer than conventional HGVs but not heavier, Longer Semi Trailers (LSTs) can carry three more rows of supermarket goods cages on each journey compared to existing trailers.
A trial of LSTs that has been underway for the past seven years has shown that they’ve saved lorry drivers travelling millions of miles – cutting emissions and boosting productivity. In the past year alone, the 2,600 vehicles involved in the trial have saved lorry drivers 33.5 million miles and 48,000 tonnes of CO2 – equivalent to taking over 20,000 cars off the road. The results also show the trailers were involved in fewer personal injury collisions compared to standard size HGVs.
Off the back of these positive results, the Government has proposed to end the trials early, and through today’s consultation seek views on whether LSTs should be allowed to permanently operate on roads across the UK.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “Our haulage 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 them on our roads permanently, we can benefit industry and our economy, boost safety and cut emissions.”
The Department for Transport is also launching a further consultation today on proposals to start a trial of slightly heavier HGVs on UK roads, which could see the maximum weight of some HGVs increased by 4 tonnes to 48 tonnes. The change suggested in the consultation would allow lorries to transport heavier containers direct to or from freight trains, helping to shift more cargo from road-only journeys onto rail and therefore cutting emissions and congestion on our roads, further demonstrating Government commitment to make haulage more environmentally-friendly.
The proposed trial would operate on around ten routes cleared as safe for use by 48 tonne vehicles, and would look at whether it encouraged a shift of goods from road to rail.
The consultations come ahead of the ground-breaking Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which will set out a clear pathway to delivering transport’s contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting net zero by 2050.