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Can Upgrading Heavy Goods Vehicles Improve Emissions?

2 min

With the government announcing that greener, longer good vehicles could be rolled out from as early as next year, Quadrant Transport looks at how this plan will improve the environment.

Longer lorries are set to be rolled out in a bid to cut emissions and congestion on Britain’s roads. It comes after a nine-year trial and public consultation found longer freight is safer, more economical and better for the environment.

It’s estimated that the new LST’s could remove up to 1 in 8 freight journeys by carrying the same amount of goods in fewer lorries. This would support the Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan by reducing mileage, congestion and carbon emissions.

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While the trailers are longer than existing HGV trailers, they cannot be heavier. The total weight of the trailer, the goods and the tractor unit must still be within the UK domestic weight limit of 44 tonnes and pass the turning circle test applied to the existing 13.6m trailers.

Department for Transport is considering the use of LST’s outside of trial conditions

The greener vehicles could be on our roads by as early as January 2022 with the trials finding an 8% reduction in miles covered by freight, as well as a 6.2% reduction in pollutants expelled.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Quadrant Transport: “This Government is committed to fighting climate change and decarbonising our transport network, and we are working at pace to achieve net-zero by 2050.”

The announcement is a vital step forwards as we work to introduce more environmentally friendly freight to our roads and build back greener.

Although the standard maximum weight for current six-axle articulated lorries is 44 tonnes, some organisations have identified that allowing six-axle articulated lorries to be operated at 48 tonnes during domestic intermodal journeys would improve efficiency and support rail freight.

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Permitting these changes would be beneficial in reducing congestion and emissions, due to the removal of long-distance road journeys by HGVs by shifting this freight onto rail. Taking more goods in heavier lorries to rail depots, to be transported by train will help reduce congestion across the country and slash emissions.

The announcement about steps to reduce the impact of the haulage sector on the environment also comes as the UK prepares to host COP26 this November.

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