A trade association is calling for the Government to conclude a trial – which is investigating the environmental and safety impacts of longer, semi-trailers – in order to bring them into general use ‘as soon as possible’.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) made the call on the back on new DfT statistics which show that Longer-Semi-Trailers (LST) have a positive impact on both pollution and collision rates.
In January 2012, the DfT launched a LST trial designed to answer questions about safety, cost and emissions.
In January 2017, it was announced that the trial has been extended from 10 to 15 years to provide a longer reporting period and make the final results ‘more robust’.
At the end of 2017, 1,939 LSTs – which are two metres longer – were on the road and submitting data.
Published on 24 September, the DfT’s evaluation report shows that approximately 32.9 million vehicle kilometres and 28,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions have been saved as a result just 0.5% of Britain’s HGVs using LSTs.
In terms of safety, LSTs have been involved in 90% fewer personal injury collisions while operating on urban roads and 72% fewer when on minor roads – compared with the average for all articulated HGVs in use across Great Britain.
Christopher Snelling, FTA’s head of UK policy said: “The results from the LST trial show that longer vehicles have a significant, positive benefit for the environment and other road users.
“At a time when the freight industry is looking to reduce its environmental impact while continuing to deliver efficiencies to customers in the UK and further afield, LSTs are a solution which can help achieve both targets.
“FTA has supported the LST trial from the start, because of the vehicles’ ability to provide improvements in road miles and emissions for freight vehicles.
“We are delighted to see that these claims have been borne out by this report, along with a lower accident rate than conventional vehicles.
“With so many positive benefits to both commercial and other road users, it is now time for the Government to conclude its trial early and approve an earlier-than-scheduled use of the trailers to enable operators to make investment commitments for the second generation of these vehicles.”