HGV operators can now use aerodynamic features and longer cabs to reduce fuel consumption and emissions

More environmentally-friendly heavy goods vehicles are allowed on Britain’s roads, thanks to new Government regulations coming into effect today (14 February).   

Key points:

  • Government changes legislation to permit the use of aerodynamic features and elongated cabs on lorries
  • Changes made to reduce fuel consumption & CO2 emissions as we continue to Build Back Greener from Covid  
  • Welfare and safety for drivers also improved through reduced blind spots and increased space

The new rules will allow haulage companies to choose vehicles with elongated cabs and aerodynamic features fitted on the back, which help reduce fuel consumption. A 2013 study estimated that these aerodynamic improvements to HGVs could result in fuel savings of 7% to 15%.  

The regulations come into force as the Government continues to deliver on its commitments to build back greener from the pandemic.    

The design of elongated cabs also improves driver vision, boosting safety for other road users. The extra space means more comfort for the driver, such as by facilitating a larger bed in sleeper cabs.   

Aerodynamic rear devices are flaps which are fitted on the back of trailers to reduce the vehicle’s aerodynamic drag without using up load space. They were previously not permitted for use on GB roads under regulations that have been in place since 1986.  

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.”   

Phil Lloyd, Logistics UK’s Head of Engineering Policy 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.”

The Department for Transport has published good practice guidance on the use of aerodynamic rear devices on HGVs in urban and rural areas.     

This follows separate legislation last year to allow greener, longer goods vehicles to be rolled out as the Government responded to its consultation on longer-semi trailers reducing mileage, congestion and carbon emissions. 

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