UK eyes longer trailers to slash truck emissions

Zero emissions powertrains will accelerate transport decarbonisation. While demand grows, other measures could come into play. By Freddie Holmes

A long-term trial to gauge the benefits of extended truck trailers has concluded in the UK. The findings suggest that by hauling longer trailers that pack in more goods, fleets can reduce the total number of journeys and thus cut their carbon footprint.

Led by the UK Department for Transport (DfT), the trial has been in place since 2012 and has allowed a small number of longer semi-trailers (LSTs) on British roads. At 15.65 metres, LSTs are slightly longer than conventional 13.6 metre trailers used in the UK, and combined, the maximum length of the tractor-trailer will be around 18.5 metres. By increasing the maximum cargo capacity of the trailer, more freight can be hauled in fewer trips; the DfT estimates that one in eight trips could be avoided, along with a 6.2% reduction in pollutant emissions on average.

The DfT will now consider

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