Bad weather and crippling fuel prices are among the reasons cited for a 2.1 per cent fall in traffic on Britain's roads this year.

Data from the Department of Transport showed car traffic fell 3 per cent in the first three months of 2010 compared to the same period last year. Heavy goods vehicles also fell by 2 per cent, while the number of light vans increased by the same amount.

The figures are indicative of the effects of one of the coldest winters in 31 years. AA president Edmund King ascribed the falling numbers to a "combination of paralysis caused by snow and ice, crippling fuel prices and an economic downturn".

According to the figures, the average delay on the slowest 10 per cent of motorways and A-road journeys also fell, from 3.90 minutes in 2008 to 3.65 minutes for same period in 2010.

Mr King said: "Lower levels of traffic also lull road authorities into a do-nothing mentality, with essential congestion-busting schemes put at risk. We predict a rapid resurgence in congestion once the economy turns around."

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