A MULTIMILLION-POUND port expansion will not lead to congestion on Portsmouth's roads, authorities have said - despite plans cruises will attract up to 150,000 passengers a year.
As part of plans to boost the economy, Portsmouth City Council will pump £18.7m into the city's international port to allow for twice as many cruise ships to dock every year.
Additional mooring points will be built, meaning two liners can be accommodated at once. This could mean an increase from 50 to 100 vessels in the port a year.
But the council promised it would 'have the facilities ready' to deal with increasing numbers of visitors to the port and the city.
A Portsmouth International Port spokeswoman said: 'Cruise lines usually manage passengers by staggering their arrival and having various check-in times throughout the day, so traffic would continue to flow easily.
'The port’s location and direct access from the motorway makes it ideally placed to handle additional passengers with minimal impact on the city.'
Parking will be available either in the port's car park, which has 500 spaces, or the city's park and ride that is due to be expanded with an additional 1,000 spaces.
Council leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: 'Passengers who drive in can use either the ferry car park which has a lot of spaces or in the park and ride, which is due to be extended. We will have the facilities ready.'
Passengers will be a mix of day visitors and those departing from Portsmouth.
But Green party member Tim Sheerman-Chase had some worries. 'I was concerned about the ships coming in as we know Southampton has a massive problem with cruise liners, they cause a third of the air pollution in the city,' he said.
'One of the cruise lines assured me that they take air quality very seriously. But we will have to see how environmentally friendly these ships are.
'I’m interested to see the council's air quality plan that needs to be presented in October. Will they be taking into account future pollution issues like this or will they only focus on problems that are happening now?'
This year around 50,000 cruise ship passengers on 50 vessels are expected at the port.