The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that longer lorries will be allowed to operate on UK roads from the 31st of May, thanks to new legislation.
The newly permitted lorries have a longer semi-trailer (LST), up to 2.05 metres longer than a standard semi-trailer. According to the DfT, LSTs can carry the same volume of goods but with an 8% reduction in journeys, thanks to the increased length. This is estimated to reduce around 70,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the next 11 years, making a huge difference in carbon emission levels.
LST legislation comes after 11 years of trials, which demonstrated a 61% reduction in personal injury collisions compared to conventional lorries. Operators will also be encouraged to implement additional safety checks and training.
The lorries must also adhere to the same 44-tonne weight limit as standard trailers. Yet, they are expected to cause reduced wear on roads thanks to the particular steering axle used. Plus, operators will be legally required to ensure routes taken are appropriate to LST specifications.
Roads minister, Richard Holden, said: “These new longer lorries will make a big difference for British businesses like Greggs, who will see 15% more baked goods delivered, from tasty pastries to the nation’s much-loved sausage rolls.
“It’s fantastic to see this change for our supply chain come into law, resulting in a near £1.4 billion boost to the haulage industry and driving economic growth. Let the good times roll as we reduce congestion, lower emissions and enhance the safety of British roads.”
However, the new legislation has sparked controversy among several organisations. Campaign for Better Transport and The Local Government Technical Advisers Group (TAG) have both been critical of the vehicles in the past, based on data collected during a demonstration of one of the new lorries.
Their findings indicated that ‘the longer lorry would have almost double the tail swing of a normal lorry, posing a significant threat to other motorists, cyclists and even pedestrians’.