The government has proposed changes to driver licensing rules that is expected to make it easier for van drivers to switch to greener vehicles.
The Department for Transport said they will be able to use heavier electric or gas-powered vans without having to apply for a new licence.
The reform is part of the government strategy to clean up air pollution and stop the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles from 2040.
Currently, a motorist with an ordinary category B licence for a car can drive a van weighing up to 3,500kg.
Vans powered by batteries are generally heavier than conventional diesel vans, reducing the amount of goods they can carry – or drivers having to apply for a category C licence with associated costs and medical report requirements.
However, the government’s new plans allow motorists to drive vans weighing up to 4,250kg if they are powered by electricity, natural gas, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) or hydrogen.
Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: “Vans have become essential to our economy and are vital for our builders, small businesses and delivery drivers. We have more of them on our roads than ever before. That’s a good sign for the economy but our challenge is to try to tackle their impact on air quality.
“We want to make it easier for businesses to opt for cleaner vehicles and these proposals are designed to do just that.”
The government is consulting on the proposal which will last 12 weeks.