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UK Government proposes longer trucks to help cut carbon

Some trucks could be allowed to use longer trailers after independent research showed that this could cut carbon without compromising safety. The research was being published recently by Roads Minister Mike Penning alongside a consultation seeking views on the proposed changes.

The consultation proposes allowing a 2-meter (6.6-foot) increase in the total length of articulated trucks operating within the existing weight limit of 44 tonnes. This would take the maximum permitted length of an articulated truck to 18.75 meters (61.5 feet) but would not allow any increase in overall weight. The Department for Transport estimates that this move could increase capacity for hauliers transporting lightweight goods by up to 13% and cut carbon emissions by around one hundred thousand tonnes each year.

The Government has ruled out any further increase in length. As there is no proposed increase in weight there is not expected to be any additional pressure on road surfaces caused by the proposed increase in length.

John Baldwin, the Managing Director for CNG Services Ltd. in the UK, notes that the longer configuration would enable more CNG storage, potentially extending the range of a CNG-diesel dual fuel rig to about 1,000 miles.

In 2006, the UK Department for Transport (DfT) commissioned research into the potential effects of longer, heavier vehicles (LHVs) including longer semi-trailers. The research completed in 2008 and highlighted a number of drawbacks that make the introduction of significantly longer and heavier vehicles (i.e. typically 25.25 meters long) impractical on either a permanent or a trial basis in the UK. Consequently, the Government has ruled out the introduction of this type of LHV for the foreseeable future.

The report also indicated that there could be benefits from permitting a small increase in the length of current articulated vehicles while remaining within both the overall permitted weight and the dimensions already permitted for rigid truck / drawbar trailer goods vehicles.

In June 2009, DfT therefore commissioned a further study into the feasibility and impacts of allowing longer semi-trailers to operate within the British road haulage market, within the existing weight limit of 44 tonnes GVW. The primary objective was to establish whether the introduction of longer semi-trailers would deliver overall economic, environmental and societal benefits or disbenefits


Current UK regulations limit the maximum loading length of semi-trailers to 13.6 meters. The study has considered two main possibilities: increasing this by up to one metre to 14.6m in total, or increasing it by up to 2.05 meters. The latter option would increase the maximum permitted loading length of a semi-trailer to 15.65 meters, which would provide the same loading length as an existing rigid truck / drawbar trailer combination. This represents the greatest increase that could be permitted under EU rules without having to accept the longer, 25.25-meter combination vehicles into the UK.

The study has concluded that while an increase of one meter could produce some benefits, there are potentially very significant advantages in allowing 15.65 meter semi-trailers. At this length the semi-trailer would have to be equipped with a steering system to meet existing maneuverability requirements. The study has also concluded that overall, the benefits from maintaining existing construction standards are greater than those that would be gained from tighter standards, which would effectively rule out conventional rear steer technology.



Heh many people dont understand that the old idea that rail is alot more effiecient then trucks.. was based on realty faulty data that also was realy old.

They used much shorter and smaller trucks with realy old gas guzzling engines in the study vs very modern trains...

But studies show a bigger heavier much longer truck can haul frieght very well specialy if its powered by a more modern engine.

We realy should look into updating all the main road systems to handle much longer and heavier trucks as it would save a freaking ton of energy.


W-2000. You are correct but e-trains can do it much more efficiently and even faster for long distances with 1/120 the number of drivers and a lot less pollution and wear and tear.

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