Govt trial of longer vehicles backed by trucking firm

October 12, 2011

Distribution group Wincanton has welcomed Government plans to allow a trial of longer trucks onto UK roads.

The Chippenham-based distribution group Wincanton has welcomed Government plans to allow a trial of longer trucks onto UK roads.

The group, the largest UK-owned logistics company with around 8,000 vehicles and employing around 30,000 people, says a permanent switch to could save the transport industry almost £400m a year and cut harmful CO2 emissions by up to 163,000 tonnes annually.

Increasing the maximum length of commercial vehicles by up to 2.05m could also significantly reduce the numbers of heavy vehicles on the roads, helping ease traffic congestion.

Wincanton has carried out extensive research into the benefits longer trucks will bring to its customers, the road network, the environment and the transport industry itself.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has been consulting on the issue for the past few months and has this week announced it is backing their introduction via a comprehensive trial.

Wincanton’s research agreed with the government’s findings and concluded that the trial of longer trailers would:

  • Increase unit load capacity by an average of 15%, or four pallets which is equivalent to 40, 32-inch television sets or 17,000 boxes of aspirin
  • Lead to estimated CO2 savings in the UK of up to 163,000 tonnes
  • Result in fuel savings of up to £85m annually, again mitigating against rising costs

Welcoming the DfT announcement Wincanton technical director Dave Rowlands said: “Longer semi-trailers will be integrated into Wincanton’s fleet almost immediately as a key element of our sustainable transport strategy and our commitment to reduce our impact on the environment.

“Not only will the introduction of longer trailers drastically reduce the amount of CO2 into the environment, it will also ease congestion on UK roads, improve productivity by some 15% and reduce crippling fuel costs which, in turn, can help us limit our customers’ exposure to rising costs.”

Dave Lowther, operations services director at Screwfix, a key Wincanton customer operating nearly 100 trailers from five major UK bases, said: “We always try and embed sustainability into all aspects of our operations and we welcome any avenue to lessen our impact on the environment.  The adoption of the longer semi-trailer offers a significant opportunity to help us reduce carbon emissions from our transport operations.”

The Government insists the longer trailers will not be a step towards the introduction of even larger 60-tonne trucks.

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