London cyclists at risk from Government plans to introduce longer HGVs

A coalition of cycling, environmental and safety groups are opposing Government proposals to allow a new type of very long lorry on our streets.

As well as the increased danger to cyclists from larger vehicles, it's feared the lorries will encourage street designs that favour larger vehicles - wider roads, less sharp corners - which encourage smaller vehicles to drive faster, and increase danger for cyclists and pedestrians.

Campaigns officer Charlie Lloyd said, "Bringing in larger lorries will force planners to design less people-friendly streets.

"This move is coming at just a time when more enlightened city planners are realising that public spaces should be more people-friendly, not designed solely for vehicles.

"We don't think that's sufficient reason to increase danger and reduce quality of life for millions of Londoners."

How long is a 'longer lorry'?

Articulated lorries with 13.6-metre long trailers are the standard vehicle for carrying most road freight in the UK, transporting 76% of the millions of tonnes and kilometres of road freight.

The Department for Transport wants to increase the trailer length by over 2m. It is considering allowing trailers to be up to 15.65m, making a total vehicle length of 18.55m.

There is a huge risk that these longer artics will become the default road transport vehicle.  The Department is proposing to by-pass parliamentary and EU oversight by allowing these vehicles to begin to operate using a Special Types General Order. 

We could have these longer trailers in London before the end of this year "to pilot the concept whilst obtaining the necessary clearances and the legislative changes to the Regulations through the Parliamentary Process".

We're consulting with our partners and other organisations to agree on what urgent action is needed to stop this attempt to avoid public and Parliamentary scrutiny.

UPDATED: 12 July 2011