Longer lorries to be allowed on Britain’s roads.

May 23 | 2023

After an 11-year trial by some of the UK’s biggest transport companies including, Royal Mail, Argos and Stobbart, the government has decided to allow longer lorries to operate on Britain’s roads.

Chris Yarsley FTAFrom the end of May 2023 semi-trailer combinations of up to 18.55 metres can be used, 2.05 metres longer than those allowed previously.

As well as providing additional capacity the trial showed that Longer Semi Trailers, known as LSTs, were involved in around 61% fewer personal injury collisions than conventional lorries.

Responding to the move, Chris Yarsley, Logistics UK’s Senior Policy Manager for Road Freight Regulation said, “The introduction of LSTs into general service will increase the scope and scale of the goods which our industry is able to transport, increasing efficiencies and reducing the environmental impact of delivering for the UK’s economy.  Over the past few years of the trial, our members have proved that LSTs provide operators with a cost-efficient, environmentally prudent alternative to conventional vehicles and our members remain committed to rolling them out across the wider industry as soon as possible.” 

LSTs will however be subject to the same 44 tonne weight limit as those using standard trailers.

The Road Haulage Association also welcomed the move but urged the government to go further. “We welcome these new laws to permit longer semi-trailers,” an RHA spokesperson commented. “The government could however go further by increasing the permitted weight to 48 tonnes. This will be increasingly important when we roll out zero-emission trucks to compensate for the increased weight from batteries.”

While the new longer semi-trailers will mainly benefit companies transporting fast-moving consumer goods and retail products, the increase in capacity may also be useful for removal companies, especially those involved in larger moves and groupage work.

Photo: Chris Yarsley, Logistics UK’s Senior Policy Manager for Road Freight Regulation.