SOUTHAMPTON is one of the UK's most congested cities, it has been revealed.

The city was named the 20th most congested city by the TomTom traffic index, which monitors traffic around the world.

Research revealed commuters in the city, which was ranked 20th last year too, spent on average 30 minutes more behind the wheel per day during peak hours than what they would if traffic was flowing freely – the equivalent of 117 hours per year.

The most congested day of 2016 was Friday, June 3, and the worst areas were the M271 to Redbridge Road and Redbridge Causeway.

The announcement comes after the launch of the Daily Echo's Breath Easy campaign which aims to turn the spotlight on the pollution in the city, the affects it has and what has been done to tackle it.

Government plans have been drawn up to introduce a Clean Air Zones in Southampton by the year 2020, meaning the most polluting HGVs, buses and taxis entering the centre maybe be charged.

Redbridge ward councillor Andrew Pope said the figures were no surprise to him, adding: "This congestion is causing poorer air quality and pollution for the people living in Southampton.

"The Labour council has talked a lot and written a lot about improving air quality, but the situation has not improved.

“To fix this, we have to improve public transport and improve the flow-through by removing the pinch points.”

A Southampton City Council spokesman said there were locations and routes that experience congestion at peak times but over half the junctions identified were outside its boundary.

He added they were working other authorities and bodies to improve air quality and reduce congestion.

"Routes into the city are constrained by local geography with a limited number of crossings over the river and waterways, making it challenging to identify solutions to improve capacity," he said.

"One way we are tackling congestion is through £2.3 million of government funding towards a three year programme to encourage more people to walk and cycle to work and school."