The Campaign for Better Transport has voiced concerns about the decision by the Department for Transport to allow longer lorries on British roads. This trial began in 2012 and has recently been extended for a further five years until 2022. I share concerns about the safety and sustainability implications of this trial. Longer Semi-Trailers (LSTs) are 15% longer than standard Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and during this trial, the number of these vehicles on the road will increase from 1,800 to around 2,800.
This trial was designed to examine if greater use of longer lorries would bring about environmental and economic benefits. The most recent analysis of the trial suggests that there has been a reduction in the number of journeys required which will bring environmental benefits. However, the report also noted that there is not yet sufficient data about the safety of Longer Semi-Trailers in urban areas.
I always support action to improve road safety and I believe that longer lorries will be too big for many local streets, which risks the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.
The Campaign for Better Transport is calling for haulage operators in the trial to be required to use GPS to establish which roads are being used and for how long. They are also asking for longer lorries to be restricted to local roads designated safe by the local authority.
I hope that careful consideration will be given to these important issues.