There was a reduction in the number of cars on British roads last year, driven by a surge in the number of vehicles declared SORN.
New government statistics show that licensed vehicle numbers were down 0.3 per cent in December 2020 compared with December 2019, dropping by 101,000 to 38.6 million.
It marks the fourth consecutive quarter of decline for only the second time since the Second World War and the first time it’s happened since 1991.
Buses and coaches, cars and heavy goods vehicles all saw a drop in numbers, but light goods vehicles and motorcycles bucked the trend with increases.
However, these figures coincided with a surge in the number of vehicles with a statutory off road notification (SORN), which means the owner cannot legally drive their vehicle on the road but doesn’t have to pay vehicle excise duty (VED).
The number of licensed cars on British roads saw a year-on-year decline of 192,000 in December 2020, while the number of SORN cars jumped by 259,000.
Across cars, light goods vehicles, HGVs, motorbikes, buses and coaches, the number of licensed vehicles was down 101,000 overall, as some saw rises, while the number of SORN vehicles went up by 421,000 overall.
The Department for Transport report into vehicle licensing statistics said the rising number of vehicles taken off the road was ‘possibly due to keepers choosing to SORN their vehicle to save on VED as they may not be using their vehicles during the coronavirus restrictions’.
Elsewhere in the report, it was revealed that 2.1m vehicles were registered for the first time in Great Britain last year – a decline of 27 per cent – and the average age of licensed cars was 8.6 years.