DfT holding back carbon benefit of longer semi-trailers says FTA

Published: 06 March 2020

DfT holding back carbon benefit of longer semi-trailers says FTA
Longer Semi-Trailers are a great opportunity for businesses to take on even more goods with a single vehicle, meaning overall firms could cut down their usage of vehicles at a time. Meaning less fuel costs and less stretched out work for drivers. There would also be the environmental benefit with many firms costing less emissions to move their goods as they would have more storage for each vehicle and therefore, potentially need less of them to move goods as they would like to. Meaning there would be a potential for reduced emissions.

According to many, the potential for drivers as well as the environment is being held back by the DfT’s lack of communication and effort to get more LSTs on the road. With more endorsement and intentions of making them a permanent fixture, more businesses could see the benefit of using them to facilitate transport of goods. This is according to research gathered by the FTA.

A study completed by the Department for Transport proves that these trailers would have a significant impact on the reduction of carbon emissions if used nationwide, after testing, they were found to be safe for use with no potential risk or harm being caused to the truck drivers or other users of the road around them.

Head of Engineering and Vehicle Standards Policy at FTA, Phil Lloyd, spoke on the matter: “Failure to make LSTs permanent is holding back an opportunity to significantly reduce carbon emissions. After all, the benefits LSTs provide to both the environment and the economy have been made evident in the government’s study. The UK’s roads are congested and carbon emissions from road transport remain too high; with LSTs able to carry more goods per journey than traditional HGVs, they present an efficient and environmentally-prudent method of freight transportation.  The quantity of freight that needs to be moved is relatively fixed – if we can move the same amount with fewer journeys, the better for the environment, the economy and other road users.

The Department for Transport has been trialling the operation of LSTs for the last 7 years. During this time, the larger containers have meant 365,000 fewer journeys took place during that time. The estimated amount of mileage saved is estimated at 37,000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide and 187 tonnes of Nitrogen Oxide. The LSTs also experience 55% fewer collisions when compared with other trucks.

Mr Lloyd elaborated: “At a time when the road transport sector needs to reduce its environmental impact while businesses are also seeking to improve efficiencies, LSTs present a perfect, well evidenced, solution. We hope government seizes this opportunity and makes their use permanent as soon as possible.”
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