Plan to allow fuel tankers to carry more petrol and diesel during shortages

Plans to permit fuel tankers to carry more petrol and diesel during supply shortages will be progressed, the Government has announced.

The measure would enable tankers to operate at a weight of up to 50 tonnes to help keep forecourts stocked.

Under current rules, most tankers carry empty space due to the 44-tonne limit for vehicles on public roads.

A closed filling station
Many filling stations ran out of fuel in September 2021 (Steve Parsons/PA)

Supplies have also been affected in recent years by environmental protesters targeting oil depots.

In its response to a consultation on amending the weight limit for tankers, the Department for Transport said: “The Government intends to progress this proposal for use in times of fuel supply shortage in addition to measures already available.

“The exemption will be temporary, lasting no longer than four to five weeks at a time.

“There are currently no plans to make the maximum permissible weight limit a permanent change.”

The DfT said legislation to implement the measure will be introduced “when parliamentary time allows”.

The proposals included a requirement for tankers making use of the exemption to travel at lower speeds and be equipped with advanced emergency braking systems.

Some respondents to the consultation raised concerns over the impact on safety and road damage.

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