Portsmouth named one of worst cities outside London for traffic jams

  MORE needs to be done to ease congestion in Portsmouth, after a report placed the city towards the top a national league table.

A report published by the National Infrastructure Commission has listed Portsmouth as the fourth worst city outside of London for traffic congestion.

Heavy traffic on the M275 into Portsmouth

Heavy traffic on the M275 into Portsmouth

The report makes Portsmouth the joint worst city in the south, tied with Southampton.

Chairman Sir John Armitt has written to leaders in over 50 cities across England – including these most congested cities – offering support from the Commission as they develop their own integrated plans to improve local transport, unlock employment opportunities and deliver new homes.

He said: 'Our cities, including Portsmouth, are facing gridlock – creating misery for people trying to get from A to B.

'Trying to tackle this from London won’t work. Our metro mayors and city leaders need to be in the driving seat to develop local solutions.

'In our National Infrastructure Assessment – the first of its kind for the UK – we’ve called for powers and increased funding to be devolved from Whitehall to local leaders.

'This will give the people who know their cities best the tools they need to improve urban transport and support the delivery of new employment opportunities and homes.'

Portsmouth City Council's cabinet member for transport, Cllr Lynne Stagg, says that although there is a lot of work to do to improve congestion (and subsequently air quality), the is infrastructure in place to try and alleviate some of the issues.

Cllr Stagg said: 'I would agree with the National Infrastructure Commission that funding should be devolved from Whitehall to local authorities, so we can act more quickly to tackle congestion in the city.

'We've had great success so far with initiatives like the park and ride service, which is approaching our one millionth customer this autumn.

'We are also launching a new city centre service on Monday which aims to attract even more commuters to use the service.'

However, Cllr Stagg has admitted that fixing congestion problems in the city will not have 'an easy solution'.

She explained: 'If we had more freedom to act alongside access to increased funds, there is much more we could do to encourage the use of more sustainable transport in Portsmouth, cut congestion and improve air quality.

'There is no easy solution for us though; I don't think there are any particular issues with the roads we have, but it's hard to make major changes to them anyway.

'Our public transport system is struggling and although the new park and ride service route has been designed to ease congestion into the city, we do have a big fight on our hands.'