Police blocked Denby Transport’s 25m long truck and trailer combination from using the public roads on Tuedsay (1st December). Lincoln-based Denby decided on the road trial after getting legal advice that the truck can be used on UK roads.
Although it is some seven metres longer than a standard drawbar, the Denby “Eco-Link” truck is limited to a gross weight of 44 tonnes making it worthwhile only for light bulky goods that cube-out before they weigh-out.
The company has been developing the vehicle over a period of years and claims that it is safer cleaner and cheaper than existing vehicles.
The news has outraged the rail lobby. Philippa Edmunds manager of Freight on Rail said Denby Transport was ignoring UK government policy and putting other road users at extra risk.
“Mega trucks would simply divert freight from more sustainable modes thereby increasing road congestion and pollution and would result in freight being carried even further along unsuitable local roads in bigger lorries.”
The Road Haulage Association has been supporting the Denby trial. But road transport operators are also split on the benefits of bigger lorries.
In October, members of the Road Haulage Association told a DfT team studying longer semi-trailers that extra length is unlikely to give the carbon benefits that proponents claim.
“Members felt that the new, longer dimension would become the industry standard (other than for tippers, tankers, containers etc),” the RHA said. “The extra length would benefit some work, especially some dedicated contracts, but would be of little relevance – or a clear disadvantage – to a much larger proportion of work.”
And it pointed out that as the 44 tonne gross weight limit is fixed, more length would reduce payload for certain customers as the trailers would be heavier.