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FTA welcomes results of longer semi-trailer trial

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says figures just released by the Department for Transport (DfT) show that longer semi-trailers pose no greater safety risk and are valuable in reducing HGV miles and making carbon savings.

The evaluation of the Longer Semi-Trailer Trial looked at their impact in terms of efficiency, emissions and safety. The trailers are up to 2.05m longer than standard 13.6m units. The report concluded that there was “no immediate concern” that LSTs were causing increased rates of injury and there had been no reported incidents resulting in serious injury or fatality.

Andy Mair, FTA’s Head of Engineering, said:
“The incident data submitted under the requirements of the trial shows that these trailers are being operated safely and responsibly and this is highlighted in the report.

“FTA is a supporter of the use of longer semi-trailers as they provide significant environmental and efficiency benefits. The report clearly demonstrates that operators in the trial are making significant efficiency improvements, reducing HGV miles and demonstrating carbon savings using longer semi-trailers on freight operations which are suited to their use.”

The trial was launched in 2012, permitting up to 1,800 trailers in two length categories (up to 14.6m and up to 15.65m). On average, the report says operators are saving one journey in 22 as a result of using LSTs. At the top of the range, some are even saving one in nine journeys.

Figures show that between 4.2 and 5.2 million vehicle kilometres have been saved from the operation of LSTs since 2012, leading to lower CO2 emissions. Empty running for the LST was only about 19% compared with a figure of around 29% for the general articulated HGV data.

DfT hopes to involve more participants in the trial by the end of 2015 so the full allocation of 1,800 trailers is taken up.

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