Traffic was at a record high in the year ending December 2016, according to provisional estimates 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 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 over three years.

Within the overall figures the increase was lead 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 report car traffic on motorways was at its highest ever level, up 1.6% to 49.8 billion vehicles miles. HGV traffic was up 2.8% to 17.1 billion vehicle miles.

RAC public affairs spokesman Nick Lyes commented: “Today’s 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.

“While the Government has made progress in investing in the strategic road network, motorists will be unforgiving if the same attention isn’t given to local roads. These record figures show there is a lot of catching up to be done if we are going to keep motorists, and the economy moving.”

Final annual estimates for 2016 are due to be published in summer 2017. The provisional estimates are based on traffic data collected continuously from a network of around 200 automatic traffic counters. Final annual figures also incorporate manual traffic count data.