Stobart Group welcomes today’s announcement by Roads Minister, Mike Penning MP. He announced to the House of Commons that a public consultation is launched, concerning high volume semi-trailers and longer trailer lengths.
Stobart's 14,550mm mid-length extended trailer proto-type - complete with a steering rear axle for improved maneuverability, turning circle and reduced road wear.
The Group has long campaigned the advantages of extended trailer lengths, which are several-fold and include significant environmental benefits, easing of traffic congestion and important efficiency gains to businesses in the current economic climate.
William Stobart, Group Chief Operating Officer, said: “This is a very positive step for the future of road transport in Great Britain, with significant and real environmental benefits, and CO2 reductions at the heart of the consultation.”
He added: “A large number of loads ‘bulk out before they weigh out’, which means trailers reach volume capacity long before reaching maximum permitted gross weight. This illustrates the point that longer trailers with increased capacities could significantly increase load sizes without impacting on CO2 emissions, and at the same time reduce the number of trucks on the road – bringing benefits across the board to the environment, other road users, and ultimately the retailers and their customers.”
Stobart's 15,650mm maximum length extended trailer proto-type
Stobart Group has conducted research into the benefits of extended trailer lengths over a number of months and has developed two proto-type high volume semi-trailers (pictured). The current maximum permitted trailer length is 13,600mm, and the proposed maximum length, subject to consultation, will be 2,050mm longer at 15,650mm. This will result in a 15% increase in volume capacity for pallets and 20% for cages, equivalent to a maximum load increase from 26 to 30 1000x1200mm pallets or from 45 to 54 UK standard retail cages.
The 15,650mm trailer proto-type, complete with two steering rear axles for improved maneuverability, turning circle and reduced road wear
“Internal research within Eddie Stobart, using our longest prototype development trailer at 15,650mm, suggests that this would be best suited to ‘closed loop’ transport operations, to and from the same locations, for fast moving consumer goods,” said William Stobart.
The Group has also developed a mid-length extended trailer at 950mm longer than the current 13,600mm standard, at 14,550mm, delivering capacity gains of 8% for pallets and 13% for cages, equivalent to an increase from 26 to 28 pallets or 45 to 51 retail cages.
“We believe this mid-length extended trailer could become the industry standard. It is lighter, so still delivers 28 tonnes of carrying capacity making it more flexible for general haulage, and it is less costly to build,” added William Stobart.
The 14,550mm proto-type trailer has been exclusively tested and approved by the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA), confirming its compliance with legislation on turning circles and maximum gross weights.
A press release from the Department for Transport detailing today’s announcement from Mike Penning MP is included below:
Government proposes longer lorries to help cut carbon 30 March 2011 12:15
Some lorries could be allowed to use longer trailers after independent research showed that this could cut carbon without compromising safety. The research is being published today by Roads Minister Mike Penning alongside a consultation seeking views on the proposed changes.
Today's consultation proposes allowing a two metre increase in the total length of articulated lorries operating within the existing weight limit of 44 tonnes. This would take the maximum permitted length of an articulated lorry to 18.75 metres but would not allow any increase in overall weight. The Department for Transport estimates that this move could increase capacity for hauliers transporting lightweight goods by up to 13% and cut carbon emissions by around one hundred thousand tonnes each year.
Mike Penning said:
"The road haulage industry is vital to the economy, making goods and services accessible across the country.
"These proposals would allow haulage firms to use one larger truck where previously they may have needed to send two vehicles. This will help to make our haulage industry cleaner and greener as well as allowing businesses greater flexibility without compromising safety.
"I hope that everyone with an interest in this issue will take time to look at this consultation and let us know their views on this proposed change."
The proposed changes would make the total permitted length for articulated lorries 18.75 metres; the maximum length for lorries using a truck and drawbar trailer is 18.75 metres. The Government has ruled out any further increase in length.
As there is no proposed increase in weight there is not expected to be any additional pressure on road surfaces caused by the proposed increase in length.
The consultation and study can be found here:
Notes to editors
1. In 2006, DfT commissioned research into the potential effects of longer, heavier vehicles (LHVs) including longer semi-trailers. The research completed in 2008 and highlighted a number of drawbacks that make the introduction of significantly longer and heavier vehicles (i.e. typically 25.25 metres long) – those beyond the existing limits of 18.75 metres length and 44 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW) – impractical on either a permanent or a trial basis in the UK1. Consequently, the Government has ruled out the introduction of this type of LHV for the foreseeable future.
2. The report also indicated that there could be benefits from permitting a small increase in the length of current articulated vehicles while remaining within both the overall permitted weight and the dimensions already permitted for rigid truck / drawbar trailer goods vehicles.
3. In June 2009, DfT therefore commissioned a further study into the feasibility and impacts of allowing longer semi-trailers to operate within the British road haulage market, within the existing weight limit of 44 tonnes GVW. The primary objective was to establish whether the introduction of longer semi-trailers would deliver overall economic, environmental and societal benefits or disbenefits.
4. Current UK regulations limit the maximum loading length of semi-trailers to 13.6 metres. The study has considered two main possibilities: increasing this by up to one metre to 14.6m in total, or increasing it by up to 2.05 metres. The latter option would increase the maximum permitted loading length of a semi-trailer to 15.65 metres, which would provide the same loading length as an existing rigid truck / drawbar trailer combination. This represents the greatest increase that could be permitted under EU rules without having to accept the longer, 25.25 metre combination vehicles into the UK.
5. The study has concluded that while an increase of one metre could produce some benefits, there are potentially very significant advantages in allowing 15.65 metre semi-trailers. At this length the semi-trailer would have to be equipped with a steering system to meet existing manoeuvrability requirements. The study has also concluded that overall, the benefits from maintaining existing construction standards are greater than those that would be gained from tighter standards, which would effectively rule out conventional rear steer technology.
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