Leading supporters of longer heavier vehicles (LHVs) say they will continue to fight for on-road trials of the concept in the UK. Dick Denby, boss of Denby Transport, claims there is still a "very strong case" for the trucks, despite secretary of state for transport Ruth Kelly telling the House of Commons last week, that there were "no plans" to allow them on UK roads and she would need "a lot of persuasion" for this to happen.
Denby, whose Lincoln firm has pioneered the Eco-Link version of LHV, adds: "Ruth Kelly believes so deeply in the rail system, it's almost a religion. However, it is possible to permit LHVs and protect the rail freight industry. "I am certain trials will eventually take place and I believe the Department for Trade and Industry, the Treasury and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are all putting pressure on the Department for Transport and making the environmental case for trials.
"In the meantime, the industry will continue to make three journeys where two would be possible." Kelly says the long-awaited report by Heriot Watt University and the Transport Research Laboratory on whether trials of LHVs between 25.25 and 30 metres long, and between 60 and 84 tonnes in weight should take place on UK roads, will now be published before the end of July. Stan Robinson, boss of Stan Robinson Transport (Stafford), says it is up to the haulage industry to argue the benefits of LHVs, and says his road train concept is the way forward.
"What we need is tests to prove our theories [that LHVs] save money on fuel and wages, [and cut] congestion and emissions. "When we have demonstrated this concept, and other hauliers have put their views forward, the road train always comes out on top due to its simplicity, use of existing equipment and its savings," he adds.
Meanwhile, Reynolds Logistics, the largest petro-chemical transport company in the Irish Republic, has unveiled the first LHV in that country. Dubbed the 'More Efficient Vehicle' it comprises a standard 10m rigid truck pulling a standard 13.6m trailer, via a two-axle connector unit.
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