1. ITV Report

Greater Manchester and Merseyside dubbed congestion hot spots

Greater Manchester and Merseyside dubbed congestion hot spots Photo: Press Association

Greater Manchester and Merseyside were some of the worst places for congestion in the UK last year but congestion is easing nationally, according to a survey.

UK drivers spent an average of 29 hours stuck in jams last year, with only Belgian, Dutch, German and French motorists faring worse, the survey by traffic information company Inrix showed.

But with economic times still tough, UK congestion in 2012 was 19% down on the figure for 2011 and also well down in Europe.

The London commuter zone was easily the worst place in the UK for congestion last year, with drivers stuck in traffic for 72 hours on average - the equivalent of three full days.

But this was 9% better than in 2011, when the hours stuck in jams in London reached 79. Brussels was the worst European city for congestion last year, with drivers wasting 83 hours sitting in jams. The came Antwerp (77 hours), with London third.

Elsewhere in the UK, the second-worst place for jams last year was Greater Manchester with a figure of 45 hours, although this was 17% down on 2011. Next-worst areas in 2012 were Merseyside (37 hours), South Nottinghamshire (32 hours) and Greater Belfast (31 hours).

Congestion in Tyne and Wear in north-east England fell 38% last year to an average of 24 hours, while there was another big fall - of 32% - in the amount of time Glasgow drivers (21 hours) were stuck in jams last year.

The survey also showed that congestion had eased in the first part of 2013, with hours wasted in traffic in the UK falling 11% in January-March this year compared with the same period last year.

In the major European countries, congestion was down 23% in the first three months of this year, with Spain recording a 57% dip.

Inrix chief executive Bryan Mistele: "There has always been strong correlation between the state of the economy and the level of traffic congestion on our roads.

"It tells us if people are employed and driving to work, going out to eat or doing some shopping, as well as whether or not businesses are shipping products."