Denby Transport has been forced to abandon its planned trial of one of its innovative longer heavier vehicles (LHVs) after police and VOSA officials prevented the truck from leaving the company's depot.
The Lincoln-based haulier had been looking to take one of its Eco-Link 25.25m (83ft) trailers for a half-hour run on a seven-mile stretch of the A46 last Tuesday morning without a government permit.
However, as the truck drove through the gates, VOSA staff, accompanied by police officers, insisted that the trial be stopped in order for them to carry out a series of tests and measurements regarding its legality.
The Department for Transport (DfT) rejected trials of such vehicles in a report released in 2008, on the grounds of safety and environmental impact.
However, Denby Transport believes the interpretation of the term "towing implement"' set out in the current regulations, allows for the use of an extra trailer.
The DfT believes the term refers to recovering a vehicle after an accident or breakdown.
Peter Denby, managing director, says: "The trial is now abandoned, but if the tests provide us with some clarification on the issue, this could be a step forward.
"This is not a challenge to the authorities, we are simply seeking clarification of the legislation.
"We believe that the vehicles are legal, we have spent months and years talking to the government, and this is the same prototype we have been trialling for the past five years."
A DfT spokesperson tells us that the government is sticking to its position that such vehicles will not be allowed on UK roads for "the foreseeable future".
Jack Semple, RHA policy director, tells us that the haulier is engaging in a debate that is "still very much alive in Europe and cannot be ignored in the UK."
"We support Denby Transport's initiative to clarify the law, and this issue is not going to go away" he says.
James Hookham, FTA managing director, policy and communications, says the FTA will be watching the outcome with "keen interest".
He adds: "The law is currently ambiguous, which has made the legality of LHVs unclear in the UK."
However, Philippa Edmunds, manager at rail freight lobby group Freight on Rail, says: "Denby Transport is breaking the spirit of the law, if not the law itself, and ignoring public opinion."
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