Government launches consultation into future of longer goods vehicles

A Government consultation has been launched into the introduction of longer goods vehicles onto the UK’s roads.

Though longer than conventional HGVs, Longer Semi Trailers (LST) are lighter and can carry three more rows of supermarket goods cages per journey when compared with existing trailers.

A trial of LSTs has been underway for the past seven years and has shown that their introduction has saved lorry drivers travelling millions of miles, therefore reducing emissions while increasing productivity.

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 them on our roads permanently, we can benefit industry and our economy, boost safety and cut emissions.”

In the past year, 2,600 vehicles included in the trial have saved 33.5 million miles as well as 48,000 tonnes of CO2. The Department for Transport (DfT) says that this is equivalent to 20,000 cars being taken off the road. In addition, results show that these longer trailers were involved in fewer personal injury collisions compared with standard HGVs.

Following on from these initial positive results, the Government is proposing that the trials are ended early. A consultation has been launched on whether LSTs should be allowed to become a permanent fixture on the UK’s roads.

The DFT is launching a further consultation today which could implement a trial of heavier HGVs on the UK’s roads, increasing the maximum weight of some HGVs by four tonnes to 48 tonnes. It would allow lorries to transport heavier goods to or from freight trains, helping to shift more cargo away from road journeys and onto trains. This, in turn, would help cut emissions and congestion.