News story

More efficient lorries cut road congestion and improve air quality

Longer lorries mean fewer journeys, less congestion and better air quality.

Longer semi-trailers.
  • up to 90,000 journeys avoided as lorries deliver extra road capacity
  • up to 10.6 million vehicle kilometres cut reducing congestion
  • air quality improved as CO₂ emissions reduced

Up to 90,000 lorry journeys have been cut under a pilot scheme on Britain’s roads, which has led to cleaner air, and reduced congestion.

The government’s trial project - using longer semi-trailers to transport goods between warehouses and depots has saved up to 10.6 million vehicle kilometres and is cutting the number of lorries on our roads.

The scheme, which involves approximately 1,800 trucks, is expected to save over 3,000 tonnes of CO₂ emissions, meaning cleaner air for the public.

Transport Minister John Hayes said:

Lorries are the engine of our economy and this pilot scheme is helping hauliers deliver the day-to-day goods we need more efficiently.

This is good news for consumers, a boost for motorists as it is helping cut congestion with fewer vehicles on the road and it is also helping the environment.

The economic benefits of the project are estimated at £33 million over the next 10 years, with British hauliers saving up to 1 in 9 journeys with their lorries that are up to 15% longer than standard 13.60 metre vehicles, cutting costs.

Despite the bigger size, they will still meet the existing manoeuvrability requirements and maximum weight limit of 44 tonnes for 6-axle vehicles.

These new lorries are safer; nationally, they have been involved in around 70% fewer collisions and casualties, per kilometre, compared to the average for standard articulated lorries. ‎ Following these positive results we are consulting trade associations and participants on whether to increase the number of vehicles in the trial.

We are also seeking views on extending the trial.

The trial was launched as part of the 2011 logistics growth review. The fourth annual report on the trial is online.

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Published 6 September 2016