SOUTHAMPTON roads are among the slowest in the country, a new survey has revealed.

The figures were compiled by the AA which claims the situation is now so bad the company is considering using electric scooters and motorbikes to dodge the congested traffic.

In a league table of the slowest cities in the country Southampton was tied in fourth place with Liverpool with both cities having average road speeds of 17.8mph.

This is just behind London where traffic flows at an average of 16.9mph and where the AA is trying out its new scheme.

If successful the emergency scooters and bikes may be rolled out on to Southampton roads by the end of the year.

Southampton and Fareham Chamber of Commerce director general, Jimmy Chestnutt, said: "Sadly this fact does not come as a surprise to us. The chamber's Planning and Transport Committee has been concerned for years about congestion to the western approaches of the city and the central spine through the Avenue.

"Southampton is a major port and cruise ship destination, a regional shopping centre and regional business centre. Good business needs good communications and if we are to realise our full potential as one of the economic drivers of this new growth region the city needs help from central Government in advance of all the development planned to take place."

Southampton City Council travel and transport policy manager Geoff Cornford said these latest figures did not necessarily mean that the roads in the city are congested.

He said: "You need to look behind the figures. Like any economically successful city Southampton is almost entirely built-up and almost no part of it has been left undeveloped.

"When you have lots of built-up areas and so many junctions people can't constantly drive at 30mph.

"The Department of Transport, whose study recorded similar road speeds, said that Southampton had far and away more 30mph single carriageways then anywhere else on its network. If other towns have more 60mph dual carriageways motorists are going to drive faster on average."

He went on to say that while Southampton may be congested at peak times generally traffic is free flowing.