DfT Announces ‘Longer Lorries Allowed On UK Roads From May 31st’

DfT Announces ‘Longer Lorries Allowed On UK Roads From May 31st’

The Department for Transport has announced that longer lorries will be allowed on UK roads from May 31st, in a move that has been welcomed by some but criticized by others.

Under the new rules, longer lorries, also known as ‘mega trucks’, will be allowed on UK roads as part of a 15-year trial. These vehicles can be up to 2.05 metres longer than existing articulated lorries, with a maximum length of 21.5 metres. The trial will be limited to 2800 vehicles, with participating operators required to submit regular safety reports.

The move has been hailed by some in the industry as a positive step towards improving efficiency and reducing emissions. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has welcomed the announcement, with Chief Executive David Wells stating that “this move will allow companies to increase the amount of goods transported in each journey, reducing the number of lorries on the road and, in turn, reducing emissions.”

However, others have raised concerns over safety and the impact on smaller businesses. Particularly commenting on the risk this could pose for cyclists and bike users, due to extended blind spots, Keir Gallagher, campaigns manager at Cycling UK, said the move was “alarming”.

In response to these concerns, the Department for Transport has stated that safety will be the top priority during the trial. Participating operators will be required to meet strict safety criteria, including the use of additional mirrors, cameras, and sensors, as well as meeting turning circle requirements.

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean stated that “this trial will help us to understand the benefits of longer vehicles and whether they can safely operate on our roads. Safety is always our top priority, and all vehicles will need to meet strict safety criteria before they are allowed on the roads.”

The trial began for articulated goods vehicles in January of 2012 and was originally set to run for up to 10 years, with regular safety reports submitted to the Department for Transport. However, in 2017 the government agreed to increase the number of vehicles permitted by another 1000 and to extend the trial by 5 years to 2027.

Overall, the decision to allow longer lorries on UK roads has been met with mixed reactions. While some in the industry have welcomed the move as a positive step towards improving efficiency and reducing emissions, others have raised concerns over safety and the impact on smaller businesses. Only time will tell whether the trial will be successful in achieving its goals.