The UK's Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that it will be extending its Longer Semi Trailer (LST) trial by five years and an additional 1,000 vehicles.
This trial, which is investigating the environmental and safety impacts of the use of longer semi-trailer vehicles on the UK roads, has been under way since 2012 and has been extended to provide a longer reporting period, which the DfT says will make the final results of the study 'more robust'.
UK trade association, Freight Transport Association (FTA), welcomed the announcement that the extension will take the number of LSTs on the road from 1,800 to approximately 2,800 over the next 12 months.
Andy Mair, FTA Head of Engineering, said: “FTA fully supports any increase in the total number of LSTs under trial, as these types of initiatives will play an important part in the logistics industry’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
“Through this trial, industry and Government are working in partnership to understand the benefits – in terms of reduced mileage and therefore emissions – of the larger vehicle type, while keeping a very close eye on safety.”
Mair added: “The proposals to simplify the data reporting process, while remaining focussed on safety are welcome, and FTA supports increasing the numbers of LSTs under scrutiny, so that the results of the trial can be as rigorous as possible. FTA believes that the trial has sufficiently proved its concept and is now clearly demonstrating what it set out to achieve in terms of reduced lorry miles, CO2 reduction and efficiency gains in road transport operation.”
UK-based trailer manufacturer, SDC Trailers, which has been heavily involved in the trail since its inception, welcomed the extension.
SDC Trailers Commercial Director, Paul Bratton, said, “Feedback from our customer base is that the trial has been a huge success to date, and while the LST doesn’t suit everyone’s operation, it has brought enquiries and requests for more licences as hauliers see the benefits and additional flexibility these trailers offer, with all manner of loads, from hay to pallet networks.
“Where operation allows the full utilisation of a longer length trailer, the reduction in the number of journeys is a real fuel saving, which can only be of benefit to greenhouse gas reduction targets, not to mention an increase in profitability for the operator.”