From the 31st of May, longer haulage vehicles will be allowed on British roads, thanks to a change in legislation made by the government on Wednesday, the 10th of May.
2.05 Metre Increase
The changes mean that longer semi-trailer (LST) combinations oh now available to operators up to in length of 18.55 m. This is a helpful 2.05 m longer than previously allowed. In real terms, this means that it will take one journey out of every current 12 trips as the newer longer vehicles will be able to carry more. This equates to 8% fewer journeys and should generate around £1.4 billion in economic benefit. Studies over the last 11 years also showed that there were 61% fewer personal injury accidents involving LSTs when compared to standard trucks.
Improvements to Greggs
One company who are thrilled by the changes are the pasty and fast-food giant Greggs. They have a national distribution centre which opened in 2013 in Liverpool and has already been using LSTs as part of the study into safety. This change means they will achieve a 15% uptick in deliveries. Supply chain director at Greggs Gavin Kirk said, “We were early adopters of the trial as we saw a significant efficiency benefit from the additional 15% capacity that they afforded us. 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.” He went on to explain that the drivers were given additional training to ensure that they were safely using the LST vehicles, and they carefully monitored any accidents or incidents; and confirmed the findings of the survey that they are safe, even potentially safer than standard vehicles.
The government also view this as a vital component when it comes to growing our economy. Richard Holden, who is the Roads Minister, has previously stated that the only way to recover is to create a strong, resilient supply chain. He explained that longer vehicles make a lot of sense as they can carry more goods into supermarkets, shops and hospitals while making fewer journeys. As well as getting things where they need to be, this change will offer more efficiency will lower emissions, congestion will be reduced, and the safety of UK roads should be improved. So, it is being seen as a very win-win situation. Because LSTs have a different steering axle from conventional vehicles, they will also damage the roads less.
Early TrialsTo get to the point where the law was changed, trials were conducted that involved 300 companies, including some huge names in the UK. Royal Mail, Morrisons, Argos and Stobart will also be switching to the longer semi-trailers. Logistics, U.K.’s senior policy manager, Chris Yarsley, said, “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.”