The FTA has welcomed the decision to extend the longer semi-trailer trial in both scope and length.

In an update to its dedicated trial webpage, the DfT said an additional 1,000 longer semi-trailers were to be made available and the trial extended by five years.

The DfT added that details on how to apply for the trailer allocations would be available soon.

Launched in 2012, the then flagship trial has, after a slow start, grown to encompass 1,800 longer semi trailers at the 14.6m and 15.65m length – the latter of which has proved by far the most popular amongst operators.

Andy Mair, FTA’s head of engineering, said: “FTA fully supports any increase in the total number of trailers under trial, as these types of initiatives will play an important part in the logistics industry’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Through this trial, industry and government are working in partnership to understand the benefits – in terms of reduced mileage and therefore emissions – of the larger vehicle type, while keeping a very close eye on safety.”

“The proposals to simplify the data reporting process, while remaining focused on safety are welcome, and FTA supports increasing the numbers of LSTs under scrutiny, so that the results of the trial can be as rigorous as possible.

FTA believes that the trial has sufficiently proved its concept and is now clearly demonstrating what it set out to achieve in terms of reduced lorry miles, CO2 reduction and efficiency gains in road transport operation."

SDC Trailers commercial director, Paul Bratton, said “Feedback from our customer base is that the trial has been a huge success to date, and while the trailers don’t suit everyone’s operation, it has brought enquiries and requests for more licences as hauliers see the benefits and additional flexibility these trailers offer, with all manner of loads, from hay to pallet networks.

"Where operation allows the full utilisation of a longer length trailer, the reduction in the number of journeys is a real fuel saving, which can only be of benefit to greenhouse gas reduction targets, not to mention an increase in profitability for the operator.”