Longer semi-trailer trial demonstrates safety and environmental benefits

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) in the UK has welcomed the British Department for Transport (DfT)’s announcement last Thursday that it will be extending the numbers in its Longer Semi-Trailer (LST) trial this year.

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 will make the final results of the study more robust. To date the trial has been hugely successful, demonstrating both safety and environmental benefits for other road users, and the wider population.

The DfT has agreed to increase the number of LSTs involved in the programme by an additional 1,000 vehicles and to extend the trialperiod by five years. This increase will take the number of LSTs on the road from 1,800 to approximately 2,800 over the next 12 months.

Andy Mair, FTA’s 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.”

A report released in September 2016 by the DfT showed that LSTs continue to make a significant contribution towards reducingoverall HGV miles, with subsequent environmental benefits, and pose no greater safety risk than normal HGV trailers.

Andy 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.”