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White Van Man numbers booming

Thu, 10 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700

THE ADVANCE of White Van Man is accelerating, according to figures highlighted by the RAC Foundation.

Between 2002 and 2012 the number of light vans on the roads increased by 29% to 3.3 million.

During the same period, the increase in cars was 11%, with one in 10 vehicles on the roads now a light commercial vehicle. In Europe, only France, Spain and Italy have more vans registered than the UK.

In contrast, over the 2002 to 2012 period the number of heavy goods vehicles fell by 5%.

During this period, light van ownership increased the most (82%) in north east England, followed by south west England. The rise was the smallest in London and north west England.

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "The stereotypical white van man comes in for a lot of bad press but the rapidly-rising number of light commercial vehicles on our roads suggests a growing army of hard-working sole traders, deliverymen and small businesses on whom the economy depends.

"Van travel and ownership has grown significantly in recent years and the Government estimates future growth will also be high. Van traffic is set to almost double by 2040, rising twice as fast as traffic overall. The big question is why."

He went on: "In 2013, three-quarters of British adults shopped online and we have the highest rate of internet shopping in the EU. Intuitively, you would think this has resulted in a big rise in home deliveries and hence van use, but so far no one has crunched the numbers.

"There is also reason to believe hauliers are switching away from larger vehicles because of changing delivery patterns and growing environmental restrictions on HGVs. It could also be that more and more people are running their own businesses and need a van to carry their goods and tools."

By Press Association reporter