30.5.2023 | Tax

Longer lorries get the go ahead on Britain’s roads

UK economy boosted by £1.4 billion as longer semi-trailers roll out from 31st May 2023.

Following a lengthy trial period, the government is set to change regulations to allow longer trailers on Britain’s roads.

It is estimated that the move, which has been tested over an 11-year period, will save 70,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

The introduction of longer lorries, known as longer semi-trailers (LSTs), will begin on 31st May.

Measuring up to 2.05 metres longer than a standard semi-trailer, the LSTs can be towed by a lorry and will be able to transport consumer goods and retail products, as well as waste packaging, parcels, and pallets.

The trial proved that they can be used safely on roads, though operators will be encouraged to put extra checks and training in place. Tests demonstrated that LSTs were involved in around 61% fewer personal injury collisions than conventional lorries.

Beatons director Nick Marshall said: “The government expects that LSTs will create almost £1.4 billion in net economic benefits as more goods will be carried on fewer vehicles, supporting productivity and boosting the economy.

With over 300 companies in the UK having already taken part in the trial, and almost 3,000 on the road, some of the biggest brands will be rolling out the extended use of these longer semi-trailers, including:

  • Greggs
  • Morrisons
  • Stobart
  • Royal Mail
  • Argos

In an announcement, released by the government, Gavin Kirk, supply chain director at Greggs, said:

“We have converted 20% of our trailer fleet to LSTs, which was the maximum allowable under the trial, and these complement our fleet of double-deck trailers.

“Due to the increased capacity, we have reduced our annual kilometre travel by 540,000 km and saved 410 tonnes of carbon per year from LSTs.”

Vehicles will be subject to the same 44-tonne weight limit as those using standard trailers, and operators will be legally required to ensure appropriate route plans and risk assessments are made.

The government says the economic benefits of LSTs have been calculated as part of a consultation impact process, the details of which can be accessed here.

Though the LSTs herald a positive change, their use will inevitably create an additional expense for businesses.

Nick Marshall added: “The LSTs will be subject to extra safety checks including driver training and scheduling, record keeping, training for transport managers and key staff, which could potentially become an extra outgoing for the company, on top of the cost of conversion to the longer trailer, so businesses must keep this in mind, balancing the income potential against the expense.

“However, the trials appear to have proved an affordable way for larger companies to significantly reduce their impact on the environment.”

The introduction of LSTs will help cut CO2 emissions across the haulage industry without significant technological and infrastructure development, with the goal of ensuring all new heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) are net-zero by 2040.

Further details of the announcement can be accessed here.

If your business has any financial queries following this news, Beatons can happily advise.

Email info@beatons.co.uk or call on 01473 659777.