New rules to allow longer lorries onto the UK's roads have been announced by the Department for Transport (DfT).

Lorry trailers up to 61ft (18.55m) long – some 6ft 9in (2.05m) longer than the standard size – will be permitted to be used from May 31 under legislation being laid in Parliament on Wednesday (May 10).

The DfT said the new lorries will be able to move the same volume of goods as current trailers in eight per cent fewer journeys, meaning they will “make the world of difference” for businesses.

An 11-year trial of longer lorries has demonstrated they are safe for use on public roads, according to the DfT.

Sidmouth Herald: The DfT has claimed that the same volume of goods can be transported with fewer journeys with the longer lorriesThe DfT has claimed that the same volume of goods can be transported with fewer journeys with the longer lorries (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

However, the decision has received some criticism from cycling groups, who have called it "alarming" and have argued it will bring an increased risk to life for cyclists and pedestrians, Sky News reports.

What did cycling groups say about the long lorry decision?

Keir Gallagher, campaigns manager at Cycling UK, discussed the new laws and said: "At a time when funding for infrastructure to keep people cycling and walking safer has been cut, it's alarming that longer and more hazardous lorries could now be allowed to share the road with people cycling and walking.

"Before opening the floodgates to longer lorries rolling into our busy town centres and narrow rural lanes, further testing in real-life scenarios should have been done to assess and address the risks."

They added counting casualties years down the line was the "wrong way to conduct road safety policy".

Meanwhile, Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “A strong, resilient supply chain is key to the Government’s efforts to grow the economy.

“That’s why we’re introducing longer semi-trailers to carry more goods in fewer journeys and ensure our shops, supermarkets and hospitals are always well stocked.

“These new vehicles will provide an almost £1.4 billion boost to the haulage industry, reduce congestion, lower emissions and enhance the safety of UK roads.”