The boss of a Newton Aycliffe haulage company, which successfully trialled the use of longer lorries, has welcomed the government’s decision to allow them to become standard on the UK’s roads.
Matthew Stiller, managing director of Aycliffe-based Stiller Warehousing and Distribution, says the move will benefit both business and the environment with fewer journeys now needed to transport the same amount of goods.
And Stiller has already committed to the changing landscape with more than a dozen of the long lorries already on the road and more to come.
“There are only a few avenues to increase efficiency in the UK road transport sector and this is one of them,” said Matthew.
“There will be meaningful consequential benefits to industrial productivity, living standards, and a reduction to the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.”
The government estimates that allowing longer lorries and longer semi-trailers on the roads will save 70,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the air, as well as boosting the UK economy by as much as £1.4 billion.
The widespread introduction of extended vehicles has been under consideration for more than a decade, with Stiller involved in the trialling of the lorries since the start.
A final decision on their use had been expected in 2027 but the government brought the decision forward to the beginning of June 2023 after putting together a huge amount of positive research.
Matthew said: “We are very pleased with the Department for Transport’s decision.
“The trial, in my view, was a good example of how our sector can be innovated in a measured and responsible way.
“The trailers’ use was subject to a rigorous set of data collection and reporting requirements that trial participants had to undertake to retain their trial permissions.
“The trail data was analysed by a third party contracted to the Department for Transport called Risk Solutions.
“Drivers of the trailers also had to, and will in the new regulatory framework, receive practical training on the safe operation of the trailers.”
Now, Stiller is looking forward to seeing UK hauliers taking advantage of the new legislation.
“These trailers are just under 16 metres long,” Matthew explained.
“That’s more than two metres longer than the previous maximum allowable length for UK and European standards and it is going to make a big difference.
“Stiller Warehousing & Distribution is currently operating 16 of these trailers, which feature a steering rear axle to enable them to meet the manoeuvrability requirements for UK roads.
“Most of the trailers are operated at night for long-distance transport between large distribution hubs.”
Now, the Stiller MD is hoping the Government will look at the prospect of lorries being allowed to carry more weight.
He said: “I hope a similar trial of Longer Heavier Vehicles (LHVs) will be committed to and undertaken in the coming months.
“LHVs would likely increase the permissible weight over and above the current maximum of 44 tonnes.
“They would do this by adding more axles to the vehicle and possibly adding in an additional articulation point.
“Vehicles such as this are already being used in the Netherlands and allowing them on our roads would again offer multiple benefits.”