What are weight limits in the UK for a lorry / HGV?
Longer Heavier Vehicles (LHVs) is a classification of large goods vehicle (LGV). Formerly known as Heavy Goods Vehicles, LHVs are too long and heavy for British road which, as of 2009, allow a maximum of 6 axles and 44 tonnes. The maximum length of a lorry must be no more than 16.5 m, which is 54 ft and 2 inches for articulated, although drawbar lorries can have a maximum length of 18.75 m, or 61 ft 6 inches.
In the early 2000s, designers and haulage companies in the UK investigated alternative LHV designs, as well as lobbying the government for a change in the law.
There are many types of LHV in existence, and most of the larger vehicles have extra axles and different trailer arrangements and make up so called road trains. Some hauliers see larger LHVs to move more product and reduce costs but bringing them onto Britain’s roads would be tough with so much opposition coming from road safety and environmental groups who want to see a much-needed reduction in traffic. There is also competition from rail freight which could be a viable alternative if some of the branch lines closed in the 1960s were to reopen.
Companies applied to the Department for Transport for changes to be made in 2005; they hoped to design new types of lorry and trial them. The DfT launched a desk-based study in November 2006 to find out what the impact could be on British roads, the economy, and the environment. They looked at options which ranged from extending existing lengths and weights of both articulated and drawbar lorries, and allowing up to 34 m, or 111 ft. 7 inches in length with up to 11 axles and a maximum load of 82 tonnes. In June 2008, based on the results of the study, the movement to legalise many types of lorry was indefinitely postponed due to fears of the effect to the rail freight sector.
Despite this ruling, Denby Transport have developed a 25.25m vehicle and are attempting to legalise it under an existing loophole in UK law.
Concerns for safety and the environment were not the only reasons for the postponement, experts said there was also a lack of infrastructure. A further study looking at extending the length of lorries to create longer semi-trailers (LSTs), was started in the summer of 2009, but, there’s been no further legislative changes.