Plans to reduce the number of delivery vehicles on streets, improving air quality and reducing traffic congestion, are to set to be discussed at a forthcoming meeting.

Portsmouth City Council will discuss plans for a new ‘micro-consolidation’ hub to be located in the city at an upcoming transport decision meeting. This would be a facility where deliveries from larger depots are brought to the hub in vehicles that are compliant with the city’s Clean Air Zone. They would then be consolidated, sorted, and transferred onto lower-emission vehicles like cargo bicycles or electric vans for final delivery to businesses or homes.

Once in place, these hubs have the potential to significantly reduce the number of delivery vehicles on city roads, leading to fewer vehicles on roads and better air quality.

Various potential locations have been considered for the hubs, including vacant units at Cascades Shopping Centre and at the Bridge Shopping Centre in Fratton. Rigorous assessments were conducted to ensure both sites shortlisted for the first pilot will be suitable for the project, subject to them receiving planning consent.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “I look forward to discussing plans for micro-consolidation hubs in Portsmouth, as this would significantly help our aims to promote more sustainable transport in the city, and reduce the environmental impact of delivery vehicles like vans.”

This project is a key component of the Solent Future Transport Zone (FTZ) programme, which aims to revolutionise urban logistics by introducing sustainable delivery methods in high-density areas.

Supported by market testing and expert consultancy, the project is fully funded through the Solent Transport FTZ programme and is expected to be implemented and evaluated before the programme concludes in June 2025.

The FTZ programme was awarded £28.8m of funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) in March 2020, and is designed to explore innovative transport solutions across the Solent area.

Looking ahead, the council is exploring options to sustain the project beyond the FTZ programme, with a focus on potential incorporation into regular council operations. The council remains committed to exploring innovative solutions to meet the city’s evolving transportation needs.