The slight decline was the first fall in the market following 17 consecutive monthly increases. SMMT boss Paul Everitt said the drop reflected “a more uncertain period for the economy”.

Van registrations for the year-to-date were up over 20% to 150,400 units.

The SMMT said underlying annual van registration volume is back to near 250,000 units – a significant recovery from the 190,000 lowpoint during the recession.

However, the SMMT said the forecast of weak GDP growth and high inflation for the second half of the year meant the outlook for the market was challenging and uncertain.

Small and light vans endured a tough July with sales down 18% to 2521. Medium vans were down 6% to 2432 but heavy van sales proved resilient – rising 3.6% to 10,289.

Vauxhall bucked the trend with a 36% rise to 1998 last month but Renault plummeted 46% to 790 units.