DRIVERS in Swindon spent 16 hours sitting in congestion last year, new figures show.

Stats released by traffic data firm Inrix rank the UK the 10th most congested country in the world, with motorists sitting in traffic jams for, on average, 31 hours in 2017.

Nationwide, the delays are thought to have cost each motorist £1,168 last year, due mainly to wasted fuel and the increased price in goods as a result of haulage hold-ups.

Researchers at Inrix found that, in Swindon, commuters spent five per cent of all driving time sitting in congestion. This can be contrasted with Bristol where the figure was nine per cent, Bath where it was 12 per cent and Reading where it was eight per cent.

Explaining the findings, Dr Graham Cookson, chief economist at Inrix, said: “Combined with the rising price of motoring, the cost of congestion is astonishing. It takes billions out of the economy and impacts businesses and individuals alike.

“With the Office of National Statistics showing more cars on the road than ever before, we need to consider innovative new approaches to solving the issue.

“Increased flexible working or road charges have potential, however, transport authorities should be looking to exciting developments in data analytics and AI which promise to reinvent our approach to traffic management.”

Along with the capital, Manchester, Birmingham, Luton and Edinburgh made up the UK’s five most major congested cities.

Congestion has been a big issue in Swindon for a while now. And with a number of big development projects in the pipeline, it is feared that the problem is only likely to get worse.

Labour councillors Jim Robbins Steph Exell and Kevin Small, who represent the Mannington and Western wards, have been leading the charge for something to be done about the congestion that frequently blights their wards and has left residents feeling like “prisoners in our own homes”.

Coun Small said: “This is getting beyond a joke now. Something needs to be done for the people of Rodbourne.”

Reflecting on Inrix’s latest figures, Rodbourne resident Peter Mason, 68, said he felt sorry for all the people who are regularly stuck in the rush hour traffic.

He said: “Sixteen hours is quite a big chunk of your time to have wasted, even over the course of the year. We have had major problems round here for ages, and I can’t see it improving any time soon.

“I think we either need to re-think the road layout or encourage people to use their cars a lot less and public transport more.”

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland has previously spoken of the need to tackle congestion in the town.

In a previous Adver column, he wrote: “An issue that is often raised with me by residents and which I experience myself in Swindon is traffic congestion. It is important that our town works as smoothly as possible. Reducing traffic jams is good for our image and reputation.”

Peak hours in Central London were the worst time and place for drivers in the capital.