There are still 400 longer semi-trailer allocations available, the DfT has said, and operators only have four weeks to apply for them.

The ten-year longer semi-trailer trial was launched in 2012 with operators bidding for 1,800 allocations of 14.6m and 15.65m variants. All allocations had been issued at the begining of the year, but 400 had been subsequently returned, a DfT spokesman confirmed.

A report complied by Risk Solutions, published in June, said It has taken two years to get 613 LSTs into live operation under  vehicle special orders (VSOs), with approximately 100 comprising of the 14.6m variant, and the remainder the 15.65m variant.

Transport minister Claire Perry said: “This is the last chance for freight operators to take part in a scheme that is helping hauliers boost trade and industry.

“Longer trailers allow companies to transport more goods, more efficiently and can have significant economic and environmental benefits. I’d like to see all of these allocations used so we can see fewer unnecessary journeys on our roads.”

Operators now have four weeks from today to apply for the remaining allocation and must use their allocation within six weeks.  Both operators already in the trial and new hauliers can apply.

RHA director of policy Jack Semple said: “This is a very welcome announcement, especially the Department’s approach in offering the same opportunity to every haulier, regardless the size of his fleet. Every firm has had the chance to assess whether it should invest in the longer trailers and the RHA’s LST helpline is available to members with any outstanding queries.”

James Hookham, FTA MD of policy, added: “The results of the trial so far have been encouraging and we are keen that those operators who can put these trailers into use on work for which they are suitable should be able to do so. This process for reallocating unused permits should help operators to do that, thus securing an essential contribution to industry’s carbon reduction programme.”