By Maximilian Clarke

Lorries are being allowed longer trailers in a trial aimed at boosting the economy, reducing road journeys and cutting pollution, the Government has announced.

Some 900 lorries will be given trailers 1 meter longer than the current legal maximum, and a further 900 will be lengthened by 2.05m for the duration of the trial- though the 44tonne weight restrictions remain the same. The trial period alone is expected to generate £33million for the haulage industry by allowing lorries to carry up to 13% more cargo than at present.

"The road haulage industry is vital to the growth of our economy,” said Roads Minister Mike Penning. “By allowing companies to use one truck where they may have previously needed to send two, we can help the sector improve efficiency and save money — which should in turn benefit consumers.

"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."

“The consultation responses indicated that haulage operators would like the option to choose between different trailer lengths depending on the type of operation they are carrying out.

“The changes would make the total permitted length for articulated lorries 18.55 metres; the current maximum length for lorries using a truck and drawbar trailer is 18.75 metres. The Government has ruled out any further increase in length."

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