Longer lorries could cut carbon, says government30 March 2011

The government has today (30 March) announced a consultation into the viability of longer trailers. The announcement came as independent research, also published today, showed increased trailer length could cut carbon without compromising safety.

The consultation proposes allowing a 2m increase in the total length of articulated lorries operating within the existing weight limit of 44 tonnes. This would take the maximum permitted length of an articulated lorry to 18.75m but would not allow any increase in overall weight.

The Department for Transport says hauliers transporting lightweight goods could increase capacity by up to 13% and cut carbon emissions by around 100,000 tonnes each year.

Roads minister Mike Penning said: "These proposals would allow haulage firms to use one larger truck where previously they may have needed to send two vehicles. This will help to make our haulage industry cleaner and greener, as well as allowing businesses greater flexibility without compromising safety.

"I hope that everyone with an interest in this issue will take time to look at this consultation and let us know their views on this proposed change."

Transport business Stobart Group welcomed the announcement. Chief operating officer William Stobart praised it as "a very positive step for the future of road transport in Great Britain".

He added: "A large number of loads 'bulk out before they weigh out', which means trailers reach volume capacity long before reaching maximum permitted gross weight. This illustrates the point that longer trailers with increased capacities could significantly increase load sizes without impacting on CO2 emissions, and at the same time reduce the number of trucks on the road – bringing benefits across the board to the environment, other road users, and ultimately the retailers and their customers."

Stobart has developed several prototypes, one of which is pictured – a 15.65m trailer, with two steering rear axles for improved maneuverability, turning circle and reduced road wear.

The Department for Transport consultation and study are at:


Laura Cork

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