A greater number of freight operators are set to have the opportunity to be part of a trial in which they'll be able to drive longer goods vehicles on roads in the UK, it has been announced.

The Department for Transport reports that transport minister Stephen Hammond gave word of this on Friday (September 13th).
The trial will go on for a decade and was first launched last year.

At launch it let operators bid to have some of a total of 1,800 vehicle allocations. Yet since then a large number of these – 1,250 – have not been taken up.

New moves following a consultation will allow these to become available to those operators not yet involved in the scheme.

"Freight operators play a crucial role in ensuring the wheels of our economy remain well-oiled by supporting UK trade and industry and transporting the goods we need," commented Mr Hammond.

He said that lengthier semi-trailers let businesses transport goods in greater quantities, as well as increasing efficiency.

These trailers "should give significant economic and environmental benefits," he said. 

The government wants to ensure they're used as much as possible while the trial is on, as this will make sure it can accurately assess how beneficial they are.

Meanwhile, managing director for policy and communications at the Freight Transport Association (FTA) James Hookham explained his organisation supported trialing the trailers.

This was because they offered both efficiency and environmental advantages, he said.

"This is not a vehicle for all sectors and will be most beneficial on journeys where the goods carried are high volume, low weight as vehicle fill can be improved," he claimed.

Also commenting on the news, the Road Haulage Association's Jack Semple said: "We welcome this new permit availability, both for existing operators and for those who wish to use longer trailers for the first time."

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