'Brilliant' delivery centres could put an end to heavy goods vehicles driving in and around Portsmouth
AN INNOVATIVE new delivery centre on the outskirts of Portsmouth, complete with a fleet of electric vehicles, could replace the need for many heavy goods vehicles to enter the city centre.
Up to £3.5m of government funding has been secured to create new consolidation centres in five locations across the Solent, as well as more localised kerbside drop-off and pick-up points to change how goods are transported.
The cash, which has yet to be approved for use by the Solent Transport Joint Committee, would also pay for electric cargo bikes and vans that would ferry products to shops, offices and other businesses after they are dropped off and sorted at a centre.
Portsmouth City Council's transport boss and member of the Solent committee, Councillor Lynne Stagg, said one of the centre locations considered for the city would be the Park and Ride in Tipner. She said: 'I think it's such a brilliant idea. We have wanted to do this for a while.
'The main point of it is to prevent heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) coming in and out of the city all the time. They are heavy polluters and they also take up a lot of room on our small streets and cause congestion.
'We would like to have electric cargo bikes and maybe other vehicles that can then take the deliveries on from the centre into the city.
'Portsmouth is the ideal place for something like this because of the fact it only has three roads going in, it's also very densely populated and we have small roads.
'But we wouldn't just be looking at Portsmouth, it would be for other places too like Gosport, Fareham and Havant.'
The cash comes as part of a successful bid of £28.8m from the Department for Transport to be used until 2023 for a larger sustainable travel plan, which includes bike shares, drone trials to transport items to the Isle of Wight and e-scooters.
A spokesman for the Portsmouth Climate Alliance welcomed the plans. He said: 'This is something we would be completely for, it's a great idea. HGVs are one of the highest causes of particulate matter pollution which is very harmful to people. So anything to reduce that and improve air quality is a good thing.'
Consolidation centres are already used in other major cities in the country. However, in the report prepared for the joint committee it said: 'The Solent consolidation centre scheme aims to be the most well established and commercially sustainable application of consolidation logic anywhere in the country outside London.'
Southampton City Council has operated a consolidation centre with Meachers Global Logistics since 2013.
The Solent Transport Joint Committee will discuss the plans during a meeting today (June 29).