THE city’s port industry could soon become a world-leading zero emissions base, and may be able to dip their anchors into a £144.6 million pot.

It comes as prime minister Boris Johnson announced a New Deal on Tuesday, backed by funding to boost economic growth across London and the South East.

Plans to “build, build, build” are set to deliver upgrades to local infrastructure and boost skills in a move to fuel economic recovery.

This New Deal includes up to £144.6 million to fund shovel-ready projects across London and the South East.

This investment is being targeted on areas that are facing the biggest economic challenges as a result of the pandemic and the government is agreeing with each area the projects that will be most valuable in restarting economies.

This could include schemes such as the Port of Southampton Cruise Terminal that the government say will deliver a world-leading zero emissions facility.

An ABP spokesperson said: “We welcome the government’s announcement that it will increase investment in transport infrastructure to keep the economy moving. ABP is committed to investing to support the UK’s economic recovery and growth following the disruption caused by the global pandemic.”

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But environmentalists have labelled the new plans as “inadequate” for helping to fight pollution in the city.

Cara Sandys, of Friends of the Earth Southampton, said: “The New Deal seemed to be woefully inadequate in terms of green initiatives, instead focusing on high-carbon building projects using bricks, cement and tarmac, which do nothing for the environment.

“The Docks at Portsmouth has its own generators allowing aircraft carriers to plug in to shore side power so there is no reason why Southampton shouldn’t follow suit.”

While Extinction Rebellion member and local GP Christelle Blunden said: “What I would hope to see as part of the deal is simultaneous investment in renewable infrastructure in the region and maybe even on the ships themselves, then it will be as good as it sounds.

Southampton MP Royston Smith welcomed the funding and said: “The awful pandemic has knocked our economy off course and the Prime Minister’s announcement will help it to recover.

“The Port of Southampton is reliant on good infrastructure to ensure we can get goods into the docks for export and goods out for our domestic market. Southampton is the cruise capital of Northern Europe and a recovery in the cruise business will be hastened by road and rail improvements so this latest investment from government is very welcome.”