The United Kingdom will allow the use of longer trailers on a trial basis, according to Roads Minister Mike Penning.
The Department for Transport is allowing a 10-year trial of up to 900 trailers at an increased length of 2.05 meters (81 inches), and 900 at an increase of one meter (39 inches), the UK’s Transport News Brief reports. The longer trucks will still need to meet the existing weight limit of 44 tonnes (97,003 pounds).
With a 13% increase in cargo capacity, the longer trailers are expected to provide a £33 million boost to the UK trucking industry.
“By allowing companies to use one truck where they may have previously needed to send two, we can help the sector improve efficiency and save money – which should in turn benefit consumers,” Penning said. “Independent research showed the potential environmental, safety and congestion benefits of longer trailers and this voluntary trial will give industry the opportunity to demonstrate how this works in practice. The trial will be subject to rigorous annual assessments and will be closely and independently monitored throughout so that any concerns are addressed quickly.”
The consultation responses indicated that operators would like the option to choose between different trailer lengths, depending on the type of operation they are carrying out.
The changes would make the total permitted length for articulated trucks 18.55 meters; the current maximum length for trucks with a drawbar trailer is 18.75 meters. Government has ruled out any further increase in length.
The response to the consultation: http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2011-06