Last reviewed 22 February 2022

Recent changes in legislation will permit the use of aerodynamic features and elongated cabs on lorries helping to both reduce fuel consumption and cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (available at www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2022/59/contents/made) came into effect on 14 February 2022.

They will, the Department for Transport (DfT) explained, allow haulage companies to choose vehicles with elongated cabs and aerodynamic features fitted on the back, with a 2013 study having estimated that these aerodynamic improvements to HGVs could result in fuel savings of between 7% and 15%.

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

Aerodynamic rear devices are flaps that 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 Great Britain’s roads under regulations that have been in place since 1986.

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “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-19.”

The DfT has published good practice guidance on the use of aerodynamic rear devices on HGVs in urban and rural areas. This can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/retractable-or-foldable-aerodynamic-rear-devices-on-heavy-goods-vehicles.

The new legislation was welcomed by Logistics UK’s Head of Engineering Policy, Phil Lloyd, who 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.”