Longer semi-trailers work, DfT report suggests

Longer semi-trailers work, DfT report suggests

A report released by the Department for Transport (DfT) shows that longer semi-trailers (LSTs) continue to make a significant contribution towards reducing HGV miles, with subsequent environmental benefits, and have a better safety record than standard HGVs.
 
DfT launched a 10-year trial of LSTs in 2012, permitting up to 1,800 to operate under Vehicle Special Orders (VSOs) granted by the Vehicle Certification Agency. The trailers are up to 2.05m longer than the standard 13.6m units commonly seen on the roads in this country. Following a consultation process during 2016, DfT announced an extension to the trial with a further 1,000 trailer allocations being offered from 1 April 2017.
 
The GB longer semi-trailer trial: 2016 annual report found that due to the higher carrying capacity of LSTs, more than 10 million miles of HGV journeys have been removed from the road – avoiding on average 1 in 19 of the trips done by the participating companies. 
 
The report also shows that these vehicles are safe to use. Its notes that assessed by distance travelled “LSTs have been involved in around 70% fewer personal injury collisions and casualties, than the average for GB articulated HGVs.”
 
The FTA supports the 10-year trial but said it is essential that their use is monitored to ensure that they can be used safely.
 
Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of National and Regional Policy, said: “The success of the LST trial is clear and undeniable – it is time DfT looked to simply establish the flexibility in law so that the UK can continue to benefit from the efficiency it brings. The success of this project shows what can be gained from adding marginally to a dimensions of our road freight fleet – massive carbon, air quality and safety benefits can be achieved right now. Weights and dimensions should be looked at in a rational, evidenced based manor and not simply rejected because some campaigners do not like the sound of them.”
 
He added: “Almost three quarters of goods movements are carried by road rather than by rail or water. We need to maximise the use of rail and water freight as part of making the UK’s supply chain as efficient, clean and safe as possible, but they can never replace road – that is why we need to maximise the efficiency of road freight as well as the other modes.”