A decision on whether to allow longer heavier vehicles (LHVs) up to 60 tonnes on the roads could be made in the autumn, according to Hazcomp boss Kevin Buck.
He said he recently met with transport minister Richard Holden MP, who was “confident” that the results of a consultation into the use of LHVs, which could be as long as 25.25m, will become available within a few months – with a policy decision announced soon afterwards.
The government’s decision to end licensing restrictions on running longer semi-trailers (LSTs) has led to claims that a trial of LHVs could now be on the cards.
Last year, the DfT said it was looking for operators willing to trial LHVs and a consultation on the topic closed in March.
Buck, who is also the cabinet member for highways and transport at Southend City Council, said the process was overrunning slightly but that he had been assured by Holden that a feasibility study into the initiative would be available in the autumn. “A government policy decision is expected soon after the feasibility report is published,” he said.
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“Speaking in the meeting, the minister said he is ‘absolutely committed’ to ensuring that a decision whether to progress to a potential trial of longer heavier vehicles, is made as quickly as possible after the report is published.
“The minister is fully conversant with the LHVs and understands the many benefits they will bring to the UK road freight industry.”
Buck, along with LHV proponent and industry stalwart Dick Denby, has campaigned for many years for a national policy change for commercial vehicles.
Earlier this year, Buck raised concerns that the government’s LHV consultation was relying on an application form that was “unnecessarily and extremely convoluted” and could risk any trial getting off the ground.
However, the DfT hit back, telling MT it “flatly ruled out the idea that the process is somehow conspiratorially difficult”.