DfT gives green light to longer semi trailer trial

The Department for Transport (DfT) has given the go-ahead for a ten-year trial of 900 semi-trailers at an increased length of 2.05 metres, as well as 900 trailers at an increase of 1 metre.

Following its recent industry consultation into the use of longer semi-trailers, the DfT says it will not permit any increase in the current maximum gross vehicle weight of 44 tonnes.

Roads minister Mike Penning says the longer vehicles provide up to 13% more loading space - allowing fewer journeys to transport the same amount of goods without compromising safety - and the trial will provide a £33m boost to the haulage industry.

He adds: "Independent research showed the potential environmental, safety and congestion benefits of longer trailers and this voluntary trial will give industry the opportunity to demonstrate how this works in practice.

"The trial will be subject to rigorous annual assessments and will be closely and independently monitored throughout so that any concerns are addressed quickly."

For more details - including reaction from the industry - see Commercial Motor on Thursday 13 October.

Truck and van registrations continue to rise

Truck and van registrations were up 8.8% in September to 43,442 units, and for the rolling year up 20.9% to 293,703, according to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Registrations involving trucks rose 3.6% to 4,798 in the month, and for the rolling year up 30.7% to 39,658.

The September artic market was up strongly by 29%, and it also posted rolling year growth of 101.4%,

According to the SMMT, this recovery brings artic registrations close to pre-recession levels, and is a sign of greater confidence and industry’s recognition of the cost savings available from new, efficient vehicles.

However, the 3.5 tonne to six tonne rigid market continued to decline last month, with operators deciding to combine heavy trucks and large vans to handle operations traditionally carried out by this sector.

Van registrations also increased 9.4% to 38,644 units in September - for the rolling year this was up 19.5% to 254,045.

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, says: "Confidence returned to the commercial vehicle market in 2011 and the September market continues the upward trend, growing 8.8% on last year.

"The future state of the economy is certainly a concern, but it’s clear that owners and operators are currently investing in new, fuel-efficient vehicles to help weather the storm of high fuel prices."