Traffic was at a record high in the year ending December 2016, according to provisional estimates just released by the Department for Transport.

The provisional figure, of 320.5 billion vehicle miles travelled on Great Britain’s roads last year, was 1.2% higher than the previous year, which was itself a record, and is 2% higher than the pre-recession peak in the year ending September 2007.

Rolling annual motor vehicle traffic has now increased each quarter in succession for more than three years.

Within the overall traffic figures, the increase was led by van traffic, which increased by 3.4% to 48.5 billion vehicle miles.

Car traffic was up 0.7% to a record level of 249.5 billion vehicle miles, 1.3 billion more vehicle miles than the pre-recession peak in the year to September 2007.

The estimates also say car traffic on motorways was at its highest ever level, up 1.6% to 49.8 billion vehicle miles. HGV traffic was up 2.8% to 17.1 billion vehicle miles.

RAC public affairs spokesman, Nick Lyes, commented: "The statistics lay bare just how increasingly congested our roads are becoming.

"Motorists, who are paying in excess of £40bn a year in overall motoring taxation, will find it incredibly frustrating that they are having to deal with clogged up roads with these provisional figures showing that traffic levels hit an all-time high in 2016.

"Concerns about congestion and longer journey times is now ranked fourth in the list of overall motoring concerns according to the latest RAC Report on Motoring up from ninth in 2015."