|The Government is consulting on whether fuel tankers should be allowed to carry more fuel in a move designed to further strengthen the UK’s fuel supply chain.
The consultation launched today (Wednesday 5 April), will explore whether fuel tankers will be allowed to carry more fuel in the eventuality of disruption to the fuel supply chain to help ensure car, bus and lorry drivers can always fill up with confidence.
Most fuel tankers operate with spare tank capacity due to the existing 44 tonne weight limit. The potential to allow tankers to operate to their full design train weight could increase the efficiency of the fuel supply chain by approximately 6%.
The measure would enable more fuel to be carried using the same vehicles, helping to safeguard a strong fuel supply chain as the Government continues to grow the economy.
Safety will be at the heart of the consultation, and any increase in fuel capacity would apply only to fuel tankers equipped with appropriate safety features such as vehicle stability functionality and advanced emergency braking systems.
Routes to be used by these heavier tankers would have to be agreed in advance to ensure the road infrastructure can accommodate the fuel tankers operating at full capacity.
An assessment of the proposals by National Highways indicates that the increase in safety risks would be extremely small and any risk of infrastructure damage would be effectively managed.
This follows the Government’s 33 actions already taken to tackle the HGV driver shortage and to protect the supply chain. This included making 11,000 HGV driver training places available through Skills Bootcamps, injecting a major and sustained boost to the number of HGV driver tests available, and investing £52.5 million in improvements in roadside facilities and lorry parking.
As a result, new HGV drivers are taking and passing their driving test in record numbers. Between March 2022 and May 2022, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) carried out 29,384 HGV tests – 54% more than the corresponding period in 2019 before the pandemic.