The DfT wants to remove the payload disadvantage facing operators using alternatively-fuelled lorries on UK roads by increasing their maximum authorised weight by up to one tonne.
An update to an EU weights and dimensions directive coming into force in May 2017 means operators undertaking international journeys will automatically receive this extra weight allowance.
However the government now wants to adopt the policy for domestic operations too.
The DfT has also proposed scrapping current UK legislation that forces operators to apply for separate authorisation if they wish to use gas-fuelled trucks.
Instead, it wants to enable trucks powered by hydrogen, CNG and LNG to be used on UK roads without special dispensation, as long as they have been type-approved to the relevant fuel system safety and emissions standards.
Transport minister John Hayes said: “If we are to encourage the uptake of less polluting technologies, or those with lower CO2 output and global warming potential, it is important that operators running cleaner vehicles do not suffer a competitive disadvantage.”
He added: “Our proposals do not require operators to change business practices or to purchase new vehicles. They are deregulatory and go a significant way to incentivise the uptake of less polluting vehicle technologies.”
A consultation on the above proposals will run until 2 November.
It asks for views on several other areas where it said the new EU weights and dimension rules prompt changes to UK legislation for trucks and buses.
This includes proposed legislation requiring a shipper to give a statement of weight to the haulier who is transporting their container or swap body to help prevent hauliers inadvertently overloading their vehicle.
Directive (EU) 2015/719 was published on 6 May 2015 and amends an earlier directive that sets out maximum authorised weights for certain road vehicles for international and national traffic within the EU.
The updated directive is seen as a positive step towards encouraging safer, greener fleets by allowing additional vehicle length and weight to accommodate emissions-saving technology and safer truck designs.
While extra length has been agreed in principle, a technical specification has yet to be published.