There are now more than four million vans on Britain’s roads, an all-time high that reflects a ‘phenomenal’ rise in online shopping.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said demand for new vans is at record levels, with more than 370,000 vehicles registered in 2015.
There are now more than 4 million vans on Britain's roads
Data published by the SMMT showed that a total of 4,007,331 vans are in use in Britain, a 4.3% increase on the previous year, with vans now covering around 45 billion miles across the country each year.
The SMMT said sustained business confidence and the continuing surge in demand for online deliveries have been key to stimulating this growth.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘Commercial vehicles have never been more important to the British economy, transporting vital goods and services using the latest low emission technology.’
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) agreed with this analysis. Mark Cartwright, its head of vans, said: ‘This further demonstrates the continued growth of vans and their importance to the UK economy in supporting online and entrepreneurial activity.’
The FTA has also produced its annual Freight Transport Association Report, which it calls the ‘definitive analysis of logistics trends’.
According to the FTA report, online shopping grew ‘phenomenally’ in 2015, with an average weekly spend of around £816m - an increase of 12.4% on 2014, and double the amount spent in 2010.
FTA director of policy Karen Dee said: ‘There is no doubt that logistics is changing. Online shopping is just one example - we have already seen how it has grown, and it is expected to continue to rise in the next few years – with estimated retail spending set to reach £62.7bn by 2020. Resilience is part and parcel of the logistics industry but all of this inevitably has implications for delivery fleets and skills.’
Last month the Department for Transport (DfT) published its Road Use Statistics report, which showed that van traffic has increased by 38% since 2000. The report said likely causes include the changes to taxation rules, as well as the increase in internet shopping and home deliveries.