Fors membership climbed 22% in 2016, totalling more than 4,400.

In its review of 2016, Fors said its number of gold accredited operators rose by 49%, and silver by 69%.

The year also saw the first national Fors conference, and the fourth version of the standard.

It boosted its auditor numbers by a third in order to meet the increase in demand.

Fors director John Hix said: “We’re delighted the scheme is continuing to grow, and we’re particularly proud of the regional growth over the past 12 months.

"As a result, we have increased the number of auditors by 30% to cope with demand from operators across the transport sector – from the ‘man-with-a-van’ through to national parcel delivery fleets.”

He added he was “particularly pleased” with the boost in gold membership, which was made more challenging in the new standard.

The increase, said Hix, “shows real commitment by Fors members to improvements in their operations and in taking steps to implement Fors further throughout their supply chain”.

The report confirmed that membership and audit fees would not be increasing in 2017.

“We believe this is the right thing to do, delivering value to members as they strive to raise standards across their industries,” the report said.

Hix added: “We expect 2017 to be another dynamic year. We will continue to work with our members to raise standards across the industry – to work towards safer, greener and more efficient operations,” said Hix.