AWARD-winning research by a transport and logistics expert at the University of Huddersfield has shown that there would be economic and environmental benefits to individual companies and the country if the UK changed the rules to allow high capacity vehicles (HCVs) on to its roads.
At 25.25 metres, they would be around a third as long again as the largest lorries currently permitted in Britain. But they would NOT carry heavier loads. They would be used for larger quantities of lightweight goods, therefore cutting down the number of vehicle journeys made, leading to significant cost savings, reduced carbon emissions and a lessening of congestion.
David Leach has now completed a detailed report into what is a highly-controversial topic. A paper based on his work was judged to be the best at the recent Annual Conference of the Logistics Research Network. Mr Leach's focus is purely on extended vehicle length, while maintaining gross weight at the current UK standard, and this makes his research unique. Other studies have looked at increasing both weight and length simultaneously.
The report is published by the University of Huddersfield (see electronic version at http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/15769/) and when it lands on the desks of politicians, lobbyists and specialist journalists it could help re-open a vexed debate.
"I think that in the right circumstances, for companies that transport lightweight goods in large quantities, from distribution site to distribution site, HCVs would be an undoubted benefit and would lead to a reduction in carbon emissions," argues Mr Leach, who held senior positions in the logistics industry before switching to an academic career as a lecturer and researcher, specialising in freight transport and supply chain finance.
The rail-freight industry fearing a wholesale switch to road transport and safety campaigners who are fear
|Contact: John Ramsdin|
University of Huddersfield