So suggests the findings of The RAC Foundation’s commissioned report into van traffic trends.
The report, carried out by consultancy company AECOM, also found that over the same period, the number of cars rose by only 11% to 28.7 million.
According to the RAC, every tenth vehicle on the road is now an LCV, while over the same decade the number of lorries (heavy goods vehicles or HGVs) on British roads fell by 5% to 460,000.
Regionally, the highest percentage change in van ownership over that period was seen in the North East, followed by the South West and Wales.
Other findings include:
· In Europe only France, Spain and Italy have more vans registered than Britain
· Van traffic in Britain is predicted to almost double by 2040
· 95% of vans are diesel powered
· 20% of vans change hands each year
· 3% of vans (112,000) are 20 or more years older
Commenting on the figures, Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, 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 hardworking sole traders, delivery men 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.
'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,' he added.