Registration of new UK new light commercial vehicles increased by 22 percent in February, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The organisation said 2021 was the strongest February since 1998, with 17,205 new models hitting UK roads. It is usually one of the year’s weaker months as many operators wait for the new March number plate.

Demand from the construction sector and online deliveries are thought to be behind the rise.

Larger vans weighing more than 2.5-3.5 tonnes and pickups experienced an even bigger surge in demand, up 30 percent to 11,809 and 26.8 percent to 1,716 units respectively.

Performance in the year-to-date is up 9.5 percent overall.

“These figures are welcome news, but it’s important to remember that February is typically a small volume month ahead of the March plate change and we want to see this growth continue throughout the year,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.

“Capitalising on this momentum will be important and an economic plan that encourages growth could help pivot the LCV market toward full recovery.

“With a clear roadmap now in place for how the nation can safely emerge out of lockdown, businesses can look to the next few months with increasing confidence and upgrade their fleets with the many latest, most efficient vans on the market.”