Extra-long trucks could be deployed on UK roads to alleviate driver shortage Business News

Extra-long trucks could be introduced on the roads next year to alleviate the driver shortage.

“Eco-responsible” trucks would reduce the number of freight trips. Longer semi-trailers (LST) are up to 2.05 m (6.8 ft) higher than the current limit of 13.6 m (45 ft).

The longer design is expected to save up to one in eight trips by incorporating more freight, according to a Transportation Department test.

The number of truck drivers is estimated at 100,000 due to the departure of workers from the country following Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic. And the Road Haulage Association (RHA) praised the shift to longer trucks, saying it would help alleviate the jobs crisis to some extent.

Duncan Buchanan, director of policy at the RHA, said: “It will have an advantage because it will reduce the number of truck drivers we need. They have a higher capacity, so you need fewer drivers to do the same amount of work ”

However, he took issue with the government’s claim that the longer trucks would take one in eight vehicles off the road, saying most operations would not be able to use the new vehicles on their routes.

The government originally planned to conduct a 15-year trial until 2027 under the proposed regime. But ended the project early after deciding it had produced enough data, The telegraph reported.

However, not all responses to the consultation were positive. 57 percent supported an early termination of the test, but 43 percent called for LSTs to be completely removed from the roads, out of concern for vulnerable road users.

Green groups have expressed concerns about the plan, saying the savings in road miles and pollutants would not offset the impact on pedestrians and cyclists. They also highlighted the likelihood that the roads would have to be widened to accommodate the larger trucks.

Chris Todd, director of the Transport Action Network campaign group, called the project “greenwashing in overdrive”. He added: “We know from the nature of the extra oscillation on the vehicle and the larger blind spot that it’s probably going to have a more frightening effect on people who walk and cycle.”

The chronic shortage of truck drivers has already affected the supply chains of major food retailers and is expected to continue to disrupt service until at least next year.

“Thousands of deliveries are not completed every week at the moment across the food supply chain. Businesses are fighting fires, ”said Shane Brennan of the Cold Chain Federation.

Tesco reportedly told ministers last month that driver shortages were wasting 50 tons of food a week – enough to fill two large trucks.

Dairy giant Arla, owner of Evian and Volvic and candy maker Hariba, also admitted it had to delay orders due to a lack of drivers.

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This notice was published: 2021-08-25 08:25:46

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