RHA moves to tackle red tape on longer trailers

By Categories: NewsPublished On: Monday 16 October 2023

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) announced last month that it had taken part in a roundtable session with fleet operators and officials from the Department for Transport (DfT), in a bid to identify means of reducing bureaucracy surrounding the use of longer semi-trailers (LSTs).

“We’re collaborating with DfT to revise the guidance to make it easier for operators to comply,” said the RHA.

“We’ve collaborated with our members on working through solutions to these issues. We welcome the opportunity to work with DfT on new guidance – we need this to be available to operators as soon as possible so they have the clarity they need.”

The organisation had previously warned that new administrative requirements would make the use of LSTs “unworkable” for many of its members. DfT had concluded based on results of the extensive national trial of LSTs since 2012 that they could, as of 31 May this year, be operated without further limits on numbers, but with some additional conditions attached.

These include a requirement for fleets to individually risk-assess routes on which LSTs are to be operated, with drivers expected to hold copies of the relevant risk assessments and route plans when towing an LST. Operators who had already been running LSTs as part of the DfT trial had been given until 30 November to transition existing trailers onto the new regime. But the RHA had said some of its members were already parking up LSTs, as the processes involved were creating inefficiency and driving up costs.

Prior to the roundtable announcement Richard Smith, RHA managing director, said: “Safety is our number one priority and we’ve had years of rigorous trials which have proven that LSTs are safe to be on our roads. Their increased capacities can mean fewer journeys and less congestion on our roads. This is good for the environment, so it makes no sense to saddle operators with huge and costly administrative burdens that will put them off using them.”