The UK government has introduced legislation allowing longer lorries and longer semi-trailers on the country’s roads, with the aim of supporting economic growth, increasing productivity, reducing road emissions, and bolstering supply chains. The legislation, which permits longer semi-trailer combinations up to 18.55 metres, 2.05 metres longer than the standard size, is rolled out from end May 2023.


These longer lorries will be capable of transporting fast-moving consumer goods, retail products, waste packaging, parcels, and pallets. Despite carrying the same volume of goods, they are projected to reduce the number of journeys by 8% compared to current trailers. This efficiency is expected to generate a substantial economic benefit of around £1.4 billion, effectively eliminating one standard-size trailer for every 12 trips.

In addition to the economic benefits, the government estimates the introduction of longer lorries will save approximately 70,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. The longer semi-trailers (LSTs) are up to 2.05 meters longer than standard semi-trailers.

The decision to permit longer trailers follows an 11-year trial to ensure their safe use on the roads. The trial demonstrated that LSTs were involved in around 61% fewer personal injury collisions compared to conventional lorries, highlighting their safety advantages.

To ensure proper implementation, operators using LSTs will be required to comply with the same 44-tonne weight limit as those using standard trailers. Furthermore, they will need to conduct appropriate route planning and risk assessments considering the unique specifications of LSTs. Safety checks, driver training, record-keeping, and specific loading guidelines will also be enforced.