The number of commercial vehicles covered by operator’s licences in the UK has fallen by more than 8,000 to 334,262 in the past year, according to the annual report from the Traffic Commissioners.
The figures also show that the number of operator’s licences issued in the UK has fallen by 3.8 per cent to 80,894.
The figures cover vehicles over 3.5 tonnes gross weight so most vans are excluded.
The biggest falls have been seen in international operations where the number of O licences is down 6.7 per cent on last year at 8,316. The number of vehicles is 3.2 per cent down at 72,735.
The number of standard national O licences, required by third party transport operators, was down 4.9 per cent to 30,196, while the number of vehicles covered fell by 2.5 per cent to 169,544.
The smallest fall was among restricted licences uses by own-account operators. The number of licences issued was down 2.4 per cent to 42,382, while the number of vehicles covered was down 1.5 per cent to 91,996.
The figures imply an increase in the size of fleets. For example, the average number of vehicle on a standard national licence has risen from 5.5 to 5.6.