Registrations of new ultra-low emission vans rose by 21% within 12 months, new figures show.

Research by business finance website Funding Options found that 1,523 LCVs with CO2 emissions of less than 75g/km were sold in the year to 30 September 2018 – up from 1,254 during the preceding 12-month period.

Funding Options has put the increase down to factors including firms looking to promote their eco-friendly credentials, avoidance of the London Congestion Charge, and increased government grants for green vans.

Funding Options CEO Conrad Ford said: “Smaller businesses are becoming more aware of the long-term benefits of being environmentally friendly, and are investing more in ‘green’ assets as a result.”

“If you are a strongly branded business involved in home delivery or home servicing you can hardly avoid customer pressure for you to green your commercial vehicles. That pressure is not just from millennials.

“While many larger corporations have the spare capital to commit to environmentally friendly initiatives, smaller businesses often have to prioritise investment in other areas.

“This can lead to businesses running old, inefficient and rusty vehicles. However, public perception and government grants have encouraged smaller businesses to update their fleets for the long-term.”