The government has unveiled changes to legislation that will make HGVs more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient.
The move will see HGV operators able to use longer cabs and aerodynamic features to help improve emissions and reduce fuel consumption.
The new regulations have now come into effect and enable haulage companies to choose vehicles that have aerodynamic features fitted on the rear of the vehicle.
They can also now use elongated cabs to reduce their fuel bill.
HGV aerodynamic improvements could lead to fuel savings
The government points to a 2013 study that estimated that HGV aerodynamic improvements could lead to fuel savings of between 7% and 15%.
The new regulations have been brought into force as the government aims to deliver its promise to ‘build back greener’ after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Elongated cabs also help boost driver vision, and the safety of other road users.
The extra space in the cab also delivers more comfort for the HGV driver, including the ability to fit a larger bed in a sleeper cab.
Aerodynamic rear devices help reduce drag
The aerodynamic rear devices are flaps that are installed on the back of a trailer to help reduce its aerodynamic drag without intruding into load space.
These devices were not permitted for use on the UK’s roads under regulations that were established in 1986.
Now, the Roads Minister, Baroness Vere, said: “This is another brilliant step, not just in our efforts to reduce emissions across our transport network, but also to improve safety on our roads.
“I hope operators will make use of these new regulations, introducing vehicles with these features into their existing fleets to reduce fuel consumption and boost safety, as we build back better from Covid-19.”
‘The use of aerodynamic features and elongated cabs on HGVs’
The head of engineering policy at Logistics UK, Phil Lloyd, said: “Allowing the use of aerodynamic features and elongated cabs on HGVs is fantastic news for our transport sector, which is looking to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
“These features are vital in helping to reduce emissions and improve air quality and Logistics UK welcomes the design of elongated cabs that improve driver vision and provide drivers with much-needed additional comfort space.”
To help HGV operators, the Department for Transport has published guidance on using aerodynamic rear devices on HGVs in rural and urban areas.
Part of that advice makes clear that an aerodynamic device should not protrude from the vehicle’s side by more than 25 mm, and its total width should be less than 2.6 m.
Also, the retractable device should be closed when travelling in urban environments at speeds of less than 30 mph to protect vulnerable road users.
The move to allow these devices follows legislation introduced last year to allow longer greener goods vehicles to be rolled out as part of the government’s consultation on allowing longer-semitrailers to reduce mileage, carbon emissions and congestion.