Government failing on longer semi-trailers, says FTA

Government failing on longer semi-trailers, says FTA

The Government should make the use of longer semi-trailers (LSTs) a permanent fixture on the UK’s roads following the successful outcome of its trial, according to the Freight Transport Association. 

The Department for Transport (DfT) funded study confirms that use of these vehicles continues to have a significant impact on the reduction of carbon emissions and road congestion across the UK; they have also been found to be safe for both the driver and other road users.

Phil Lloyd, Head of Engineering & Vehicle Standards Policy at FTA, comments: “Failure to make LSTs permanent is holding back an opportunity to significantly reduce carbon emissions. After all, the benefits LSTs provide to both the environment and the economy have been made evident in the Government’s study. 

“The UK’s roads are congested and carbon emissions from road transport remain too high; with LSTs able to carry more goods per journey than traditional HGVs, they present an efficient and environmentally-prudent method of freight transportation.  The quantity of freight that needs to be moved is relatively fixed – if we can move the same amount with fewer journeys, the better for the environment, the economy and other road users”

Mr Lloyd continues: “At a time when the road transport sector needs to reduce its environmental impact while businesses are also seeking to improve efficiencies, LSTs present a perfect, well evidenced, solution. We hope the Government seizes this opportunity and makes their use permanent as soon as possible.”

LSTs are up to 2.05 metres longer than the current standard semi-trailers on UK roads (15.65 metres instead of 13.6 metres).

While the trailers are longer than existing HGV trailers, they cannot be heavier. The total weight of the trailer, the goods and the tractor unit must still be within the UK domestic weight limit of 44 tonnes. They must also pass the turning circle test applied to the existing 13.6 metre trailers. To achieve this, LSTs usually have a steering rear axle.