The Department for Transport last week announced plans for a trail of longer commercial vehicles – up to 18.55m (60ft) long. The trial, which will run for 10 years, aims to boost the economy, reduce road journeys and cut pollution. A noble cause but can an additional 2m really make much difference? Wincanton’s technical director Dave Rowlands said the new super-trucks “could save the transport industry almost £400 million a year and see harmful CO2 emissions reduced by up to 163,000 tonnes annually”. The increased size of vehicles will improve efficiency and save money, which can only be good news for consumers.
Good news for road freight and consumers, but bad news for rail freight and other road users. The Rail Freight Group (RFG) expressed “deep disappointment” at the decision and called the government’s commitment to green transport into question. Questions are also being raised regarding safety with many predicting an increase of six road deaths per year. Small haulage firms may also feel the effects of the trial as the haulage giants will be able to offer even more competitive prices.