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‘Mega trucks’ is the name given to HGVs that are longer, wider and heavier than any other type of HGV. These trucks can be so long that they take up more space on the road than two double-decker buses combined – up to 25.25m in length – and may weigh anything up to 60 tonnes. Due to their huge size, mega trucks can carry more cargo than a standard HGV, meaning fewer trips, fewer drivers and more value for money per journey for hauliers and their clients. This could certainly help to solve the problem of the driver shortage the industry is experiencing at the moment, but these vehicles are not welcomed by everyone.

Mega trucks are a controversial topic, because they may become widespread on Europe’s road very soon and campaigners are concerned about the impact they could have.

Environment

Although the increased loads of these trucks can, say some hauliers, help to ease congestion by reducing the number of vehicles on the road and the number of journey they need to make. The counter-argument is that the only other vehicle regularly used for moving this much freight in one go is a freight train and, that with the introduction of the mega truck, train use will go down while mega truck use goes up, therefore causing more pollution overall.

The majority of organisations who are against the introduction of mega trucks are environmental ones, insisting that standard sized HGVs are sufficient for all road haulage, and that rail should continue to be used for larger loads.

Accidents

Although there’s no evidence to suggest that mega trucks are inherently more dangerous than HGVs when in safe and capable hands, campaigners are also worried that the size of these trucks could lead to more accidents because of their size.

They’re also concerned that the accidents any mega trucks are involved in could be more severe than the accidents that sometimes occur with a regular sized HGV. In the countries where mega trucks are currently being used, the roads are less busy and more spacious, making them safer and easier to drive – say campaigners.

Retro-fitting our roads

One of the most obvious problems with mega trucks in the UK is that our roads are, in many cases, not designed for vehicles of this size. Our low bridges, narrow roads, railway crossings and parking facilities are used to catering to large HGVs – just about – but the mega truck would pose some new problems. If our roads were to be retro-fitted to accommodate mega trucks, this could be an expensive business.

Will we see mega trucks soon?

This is still being debated. Mega trucks are currently allowed in some countries in Europe, such as Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands, but they’re not currently allowed in the UK. In Britain, there’s a length limit of 18.25m for all road vehicles, leaving the mega trucks 6m short of being legal here.

The Environmental Transport Association (ETA) and Freight on Rail are just two of the organisations opposed to mega trucks, but some Tory MPs have previously voiced support for lifting the mega truck ban.

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