Following consultation on proposals to allow a two metre increase in the length of articulated lorries, the Department for Transport is allowing a ten-year trial of up to 900 trailers at an increased length of 2.05 metres, and 900 at an increase of one metre. The longer lorries will operate within the existing weight limit of 44 tonnes.
The trial is expected to provide a £33m boost to the haulage industry as the longer vehicles provide up to 13% more loading space – allowing fewer journeys to transport the same amount of goods - without compromising safety.
Mike Penning said: "The road haulage industry is vital to the growth of our economy. By allowing companies to use one truck where they may have previously needed to send two, we can help the sector improve efficiency and save money – which should in turn benefit consumers.
"Independent research showed the potential environmental, safety and congestion benefits of longer trailers and this voluntary trial will give industry the opportunity to demonstrate how this works in practice.
"The trial will be subject to rigorous annual assessments and will be closely and independently monitored throughout so that any concerns are addressed quickly."
The consultation responses indicated that haulage operators would like the option to choose between different trailer lengths depending on the type of operation they are carrying out.
The changes would make the total permitted length for articulated lorries 18.55 metres; the current maximum length for lorries using a truck and drawbar trailer is 18.75 metres. The Government has ruled out any further increase in length.