A NEW distribution centre to cut harmful emissions and congestion across Hampshire has opened.

The new Sustainable Distribution Centre (SDC) will receive goods deliveries from across the country so they can be delivered together to the same location.

It means lorries will no longer have to make trips into Southampton, Eastleigh or Winchester, instead being able to drop their cargo off at the new centre.

The idea was initiated by Southampton City Council last year , and the authority has now appointed local firm Meac hers Global Logistics to run the centre in the Nursling Industrial Estate .

The centre will take deliveries from suppliers 24 hours a day.

The cargo will be stored or grouped with other loads destined for the same location, and they will then be delivered together .

It is hoped it will have a big environmental benefit by reducing carbon dioxide levels and particulates and nitrogen oxide emissions .

And the region’s roads could also see the benefit, with less lorries travelling leading to less congestion issues.

The centre has been largely funded through a Government Sustainable Local Transport Fund grant give n to the council last year .

City environment and transport boss Jacqui Rayment said: “We are delighted to have chosen the freight management experts Meachers as the operator and that they will be making it operational by February.

“ I would encourage businesses of all sizes from within a 20-mile radius of Southampton to find out how using the SDC can help them to become more efficient through its affordable delivery and storage solutions, while also reducing the level of carbon emissions and traffic in the city.

“ This news further consolidates our reputation as the Transport City of the Year as we lead the way with our partners in providing innovative transport solutions to local residents and businesses .”

Meachers’ global logistics commercial director, Gary Whittle, said: “Winning this tender is great news for Meachers, our customers and the Southampton area.

“ With extensive experience running consolidation centres we have been strong advocates for the creation of a Sustainable Distribution Centre for the region for many years.

“The new offering will bring significant commercial oppor tunities for customers and environmental benefits for the city.

“ Through smarter sustainable logistics users will benefit from just in time deliveries , a smarter use of ware housing space and ultimately reduced costs and increased efficiency.

We are already in discussion with a number of public sector organisations regarding the service and intend to roll it out to the private sector mid-2014.