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UK is third most congested nation in Europe

The UK has the third worst traffic congestion country in Europe, a study has found.

Russia tops the list of the most congested countries in Europe, followed by Turkey, according to traffic information company Inrix.

British drivers are spending an average of 32 hours a year stuck in jams during peak periods, the study showed.

The direct and indirect costs of hold-ups reached £31bn last year – an average of £968 per driver, researchers said.

The most congested UK city is London, which was found to be the seventh worst city out of more than 1,000 analysed around the world.

Manchester comes second, followed by Aberdeen, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Guildford, Luton, Bournemouth, Hull and Bristol.

But Aberdeen eclipsed London for congestion at peak periods, with drivers stuck in gridlock 24% of the time, moving at an average speed of 5.5mph.

The A1 southbound from College Gardens to Wallace Park in Belfast was the most congested road corridor in the UK.

Businesses suffer the most from traffic in Cardiff, with daytime congestion in the Welsh capital occurring 15% of the time.

Inrix chief economist Graham Cookson said: “Despite Brexit, 2016 saw the UK economy remaining stable, fuel prices staying low and employment growing to an 11-year high, all of which incentivises road travel and helped increase congestion.

“The cost of this congestion is staggering, stripping the economy of billions, impacting businesses and costing consumers dearly.”

He added: “To tackle this problem, we must consider bold options such as remote working, wider use of road user charging and investment in big data to create more effective and intelligent transportation systems.”

Department for Transport (DfT) figures show there was a record 320.5bn miles travelled in 2016, up 1.2% on the previous year.

A DfT spokesman said: “We are making the most extensive improvements to roads since the 1970s, investing a record £23bn to keep our country moving and make journeys faster, better and more reliable for everyone.

“As announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement, we are also spending a further £1.3bn over the course of this Parliament to relieve congestion and provide important upgrades to ensure our roads are fit for the future.”

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