Longer lorries could be followed by heavier lorries

26/08/2021
Chris Ames

Longer goods vehicles could be permanently allowed on Britain’s roads from as early as next year, the Government has announced.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has published its response to its consultation on the introduction of longer-semi trailers (LSTs), with the majority of respondents in favour of their use following a nine-year trial, which ‘found them to be safer, more economical and better for the environment’.

Officials said the vehicles, which can be up to 15.65 metres long, could remove up to one in eight freight journeys by carrying the same amount of cargo in fewer lorries.

The DfT said it will now consider the use of LSTs on Britain’s roads outside trial conditions, and that the vehicles could be rolled out ‘sometime in 2022’.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘This Government is committed to fighting climate change and decarbonising our transport network, and we are working at pace to achieve net zero by 2050.

‘Today’s announcement is a vital step forwards as we work to introduce more environmentally friendly freight to our roads and build back greener.’

The DfT said that road safety ‘continues to be of paramount concern’, and that while the trial showed the use of LSTs caused fewer collisions, additional mitigations are under review to ensure hauliers and road users are kept even safer.

The Government will also soon launch a separate trial using heavier-than-normal, 48-tonne lorries, which will be able to transport heavier containers directly to and from rail depots so goods can be transported across the country by train.

Officials said that the current 44 tonnes maximum weight makes it difficult to carry heavier goods to rail depots, meaning goods are dispersed between more lorries to be taken to their end destination by road.

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