Longer lorries set to hit GB roads this month


Ministers are to lay legislation on Wednesday (10 May) to allow longer lorries to operate on roads in Great Britain.

The new lorries, which will be permitted from 31 May, will feature a longer semi-trailer (LST), an extra-long semi-trailer, measuring up to 2.05 metres longer than a standard semi-trailer.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the lorries can move the same volume of goods using 8% fewer journeys than current trailers, saving 70,000 tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere over 11 years.

The claim compares with the recent revelation that the Government had to increase its forecast of carbon emissions from transport by millions of tonnes of CO2 annually because of a number of factors including higher HGV traffic,

The DfT pointed out that the move follows an 11-year trial and said that operators will be encouraged to put extra safety checks and training in place.

It said the trial showed that LSTs were involved in around 61% fewer personal injury collisions than conventional lorries.

Image: DfT

Roads minister Richard Holden said: ‘These new vehicles will provide an almost £1.4bn boost to the haulage industry, reduce congestion, lower emissions and enhance the safety of UK roads.’

The DfT said this value derives from the impact assessment for the change. It appears to represent the ‘high’ estimate of the value of the policy over 20 years at 2019 prices from a 2021 impact assessment. The ‘best’ estimate is £1.117bn.

Chris Yarsley, senior policy manager at Logistics UK said: ‘Over the past few years of the trial, our members have proved that LSTs provide operators with a cost-efficient, environmentally prudent alternative to conventional vehicles and our members remain committed to rolling them out across the wider industry as soon as possible.’

Cycling UK said HGVs are disporportionately involved in the deaths of cyclists and pedestrians. Campaigns manager Keir Gallagher said: 'At a time when funding for infrastructure to keep people cycling and walking safer has been cut, it's alarming that longer and more hazardous lorries could now be allowed to share the road with people cycling and walking.

'Before opening the floodgates to longer lorries rolling into our busy town centres and narrow rural lanes, further testing in real-life scenarios should have been done to assess and address the risks.'

Officials said that vehicles that use LSTs will be subject to the same 44 tonne weight limit as those using standard trailers, and the new vehicles are expected to cause less wear on the roads than conventional lorries due to the type of steering axle used.

Operators will be legally required to ensure appropriate route plans and risk assessments are made to take the unique specifications of LSTs into account.

The DfT said the move is also part of the Government’s 33 actions to address the shortage of HGV drivers and boost recruitment and retention.

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