According to a recent trade press article, the government are to finally give the green light to Longer Semi Trailers (LSTs) on UK roads in 2022 following nine years of trial data which demonstrated an 8% average reduction in freight miles and a 6.2% reduction in pollutants.
The industry has long awaited the final approval of LSTs for general use from the DfT and rumours of the move were mooted back in February. 57% of the DfT consultation respondents expressed that LSTs should be in general circulation as part of efforts to improve efficiency and reduce the impact on the environment.
Longer Semi Trailers can be up to 15.650m long, effectively extending a standard trailer length by 2m. Whilst the maximum plated weight has not been increased, the additional length (and subsequent volume) affords another 4 UK pallets on single decks and up to 8 extra UK pallets on double deck variants.
LSTs may not be to everyone's taste. Although LSTs conform to existing turning circle regulations, the extra length can make manoeuvring a challenge and potential new operators should be wary of yard space and local road infrastructure.
Despite some operational challenges, the 15% additional volume that LSTs afford can't ignored. The potential reduction on freight miles will go some way toward the current driver shortage crisis and also provides savvy operators with an opportunity to de-fleet.
The trial highlighted an exceptional LST safety record; arguably better than standard length trailers. This may be due to better training or awareness so it's possible the government may impose some additional regulatory restrictions to limit reckless adoption of the newly permitted longer trailers.
Don-Bur currently manufactures the complete range of LSTs including curtainsiders, box vans and their 60 pallet double decks.
Published: Wed 25 Aug 2021
Updated: Tue 09 Jan 2024
Author: Richard Owens
Published by: Don-Bur