Longer lorries could be rolled out to cut emissions on Britain’s roads as early as next year.
The Government announcement follows a nine-year trial of longer-semi trailers (LSTs) which can be up to 15.65 metres in length.
The response to the consultation has been published, in which the majority of respondents were in favour of their use.
It’s estimated LSTs could remove up to 1 in 8 freight journeys by carrying the same amount of cargo in fewer lorries. This would support the government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan by reducing mileage, congestion, and carbon emissions.
The trial saw a reduction in the number of lorries making journeys across the country, with an average 8% reduction in miles covered by freight, as well as a 6.2% reduction in pollutants expelled. It also found the use of LSTs reduced the number of road traffic collisions, resulting from fewer journeys being made.
The Government will also launch trial of heavier, 48 tonne freight to help shift more cargo from road-only journeys onto rail. These lorries will be able to transport heavier containers directly to and from rail depots so that goods can be transported across the country by train.
Currently, the maximum weight of a lorry (44 tonnes) makes it difficult to carry heavier goods to rail depots, meaning goods are dispersed between more lorries to be taken to their end destination by road. Taking more goods in heavier trucks to rail depots to be transported by train will help reduce congestion across the country and slash emissions.
The trial would ensure these heavier lorries are only used on specific routes and would limit their use to a maximum journey length.
The announcement about steps to reduce the impact of the haulage sector on the environment comes as the UK prepares to host COP26 this November. It is the 26th UN Climate Change Conference.