Posted: Wed 10th May 2023

Longer lorries to be allowed on roads in UK

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, May 10th, 2023

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The UK government has announced the introduction of longer lorries on UK roads to increase goods transportation efficiency.

Despite safety concerns for pedestrians, cyclists, and potential damage to roadside infrastructure, new legislation permitting these larger lorries will be introduced today, 10 May 2023.

The new lorries, up to 61ft (18.55 metres) long, will exceed the standard size by 6ft 9in (2.05 metres).

The move is anticipated to inject £1.4 billion into the UK economy the Department of Transport (DoF) has said.

The introduction of these longer semi-trailers (LSTs) is the latest in a series of 33 UK government measures aimed at bolstering the haulage industry, levelling up transport, and stimulating economic growth.

By transporting the same volume of goods in fewer trips, LSTs are expected to create a 70,000-tonne reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

The move follows an 11-year trial period to ensure the safe use of LSTs on roads.

The trial demonstrated a 61% reduction in personal injury collisions involving LSTs compared to conventional lorries, the Department of Transport has claimed.

Haulage operators are being encouraged to implement additional safety checks and training.

The lorries will need to comply with a 44-tonne weight limit, the same as for standard trailers.

The new legislation requires operators to ensure appropriate route plans and risk assessments for LSTs.

Additional safety measures, including driver training and scheduling, record-keeping, and loading of LSTs, are also encouraged.

Over 300 companies in the UK, including big brands such as Greggs, Morrisons, Stobart, Royal Mail, and Argos, have already participated in the trial. Gavin Kirk, Supply Chain Director at Greggs, welcomed the introduction of LSTs, noting a 20% conversion of their trailer fleet and an annual carbon saving of 410 tonnes.

The introduction of LSTs is part of the government’s comprehensive plan to address HGV driver shortages and boost recruitment and retention, which includes £52.5 million for improved roadside facilities and the availability of 11,000 HGV driver training places.

Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “Everyone around the country depends on our haulage sector for their everyday needs – from loo rolls to sausage rolls – and a strong, resilient supply chain is key to the government’s priority to grow the economy.”

“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.”

Chris Yarsley, Senior Policy Manager at Logistics UK said:

“The introduction of longer semi-trailers (LSTs) into general service will increase the scope and scale of the goods which our industry is able to transport, increasing efficiencies and reducing the environmental impact of delivering for the UK’s economy.”

“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 has expressed concern over new longer lorry legislation.

Keir Gallagher, campaigns manager at Cycling UK: “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.”

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