Plans to introduce massive new ‘super lorries’ onto British roads have been rejected by the Government.
It was proposed that super lorries, which could have been as long as 34 metres – more than double the current length of HGVs - and weighing up to 82 tonnes, which is almost double their current maximum weight, should be introduced.
The plans were rejected on three grounds – compromised safety, increased emissions and traffic management problems.
The Department for Transport (DfT) rejection of the proposals follows the publication of an independent report, which highlighted a number of issues making the use of super lorries in the UK impractical.
The report, commissioned by the DfT from the Transport Research Laboratory, found that super lorries could lead to an increase in CO2 emissions due to goods shifting from rail to road, create serious implications for the management of the road network - as the vehicles would be unsuitable for many roads and junctions - as well as introducing new safety risks.
"This study shows that super lorries are not compatible with British roads.
"Not only are there clear environmental drawbacks, but such vehicles would be unsuitable for many roads and junctions, while providing the infrastructure to accommodate them would require substantial investment,” said transport minister, Ruth Kelly.
“There are also uncertainties about how efficiently such vehicles could be used, particularly when sourcing loads of sufficient size to make return journeys sustainable; and about their impacts on the viability of existing rail freight services and the potential for future growth.”
Despite this emphatic rejection, the DfT did confirm that it is considering permitting a ‘modest increase’ in the length of current articulated vehicles.
It said there could be ‘worthwhile benefits’ from such a move.