DfT extends longer trailer trial

Published: 07 February 2017

DfT extends longer trailer trial
Trailer manufacturers and industry associations have welcomed the DfT’s decision to extend the longer semi-trailer trial in both scope and length.
The DfT have said an extra 1000 longer semi-trailers are to be made available and that the trial will be extended by 5 years.
The DfT have said that details on how to apply for the trailer allocations would be available shortly. Changes to the reporting structure is also expected to be announced.
The trial was launched in 2012 and involves 1800 longer semi-trailers at 14.6m and 15.65m maximum length. The latter is seen to be the more popular choice for haulage operators.
Jack Semple, director of policy RHA, said: “The permit allocation will give equal opportunity to small firms. It is the right measure, in the right way for the right reasons. The trial boosts productivity and safety, and reduces emissions.”
Andy Mair, head of engineering FTA, said: “The FTA fully supports any increase in the number of trailers under the trial. These types of initiatives play an important part in the logistics industry’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
“Through this trial, industry and government and working to understand the benefits of larger vehicles, while keeping a close eye on safety.”
UK Company Gist is taking part in the trials

Paul Bratton, commercial director SDC agrees: “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,” 
“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.”
The latest annual report, by Risk Solutions in September 2016, says the trial has recorded 70% fewer collisions and casualties per kilometre, compared to the average for standard articulated lorries.‎
It seems that the extension of the trial has come as a welcome announcement to the industry, however the trial is only 5 years in to a 10 year trial. Surely the fact that they wish to extend that trial by a further 5 years already shows admission that it works?
And if that is so why not just phases the new longer trailers in over the next 5 years rather than extend the trial further?
The DfT even admit that the trial is expected to save more than 3,000 tonnes of CO2 with further economic benefits estimated at over £33m over 10 years.
I guess we will see in 2027 what the decision will be after the trial has concluded.
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