E-commerce prompts boom in vans on county’s road, academic says

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A leading UEA academic has said that e-commerce is 'undoubtedly responsible' for the booming numbers of vans being registered in the county.

Since 2012, 10,097 more vans have been registered on Norfolk roads, and in Norwich the increase was even more stark with 20 per cent more vans on the road.

Dr. Andrew Fearne, Professor of Value Chain Management at Norwich Business School, said the data largely owed itself to the nature of the e-commerce economy.

He said: 'E-commerce is undoubtedly responsible for a large part of the growth in delivery vehicles in recent years. It is very difficult to see this growth slowing.

'Profit-margins are wafer thin in e-commerce, so volume growth and efficient operations are key to profitability.

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'Regulation is inevitable but not a vote winner.'

Dominic Purslow, the depot principle at Jack Richards, a haulage company which uses Large Goods Vehicles in its fleet, said that the increase in delivery vehicles was not simply down to vans but lorries as well.

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He said: 'Companies like ours have no interest in running lorries on country lanes to deliver, say, a pallet of coal to someone in a cottage. We just have to do what the industry tells us to do.'

Mr Purslow also emphasised that his company are very aware of the impact that CO2 emissions coming from his fleet of LGVs have on the environment.

He said: 'We're extremely aware of the impact of our emissions. We run Euro Six engines, which means we have the most fuel efficient engines in the market.'

Neither Norwich City Council nor Norfolk County Council currently have regulations restricting the engine emission efficiency.

However, the city council highlighted in response to the new data that they have recently been given permission by the national government to enforce Fixed Penalty Notices for engines that are left running while stationary.

Nationally, the new data reveals that the number of miles driven by vans on British roads has increased by 19% since 2012 - with car miles in that same period increasing by only 5%.

Do you have a story for us? Email charlie.coe@archant.co.uk

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