MOTORISTS in the county are spending more time in their cars as delays worsened and the average speed fell last year, according to latest figures.

The average delay in Worcestershire is almost two seconds more per mile than it was in 2015 - meaning every driver in the county faced an average delay of almost 30 seconds per mile.

However, the average for Worcestershire is far below the national average of 47.3 seconds per vehicle per mile.

The average speed for a car travelling on an A road in Worcestershire - fell again for the fourth year in a row from 32.2 miles per hour in 2015 to 31.5 miles per hour last year.

Councillor Alan Amos, cabinet member for highways, said the county council was doing all it could to tackle congestion but was not being helped by a continuous stream of housing developments being approved.

He said: "These statistics show exactly why the county council is right to have put traffic congestion at the top of its agenda and why we are spending a record amount of money - over £11 million this year alone - on schemes throughout the county to deal with it.

"We have three major schemes going on in the city alone.

"Whilst I am relentlessly focussed on tackling the problem, the irresponsibility of planning authorities continuing to approve almost every application for more houses only makes the challenge ever more difficult.

"The city planning committee continues to grant planning permission for virtually every residential scheme that comes along so, as I have long predicted, we will struggle to solve this problem whilst thousands more people keep moving into the city every year."

Major roads throughout and around the city mostly saw decreases in the average speed.

The average speed on the A449 fell to 33.1 miles per hour, the average speed on the A4440 fell to 30.1 miles per hour and the A4103 fell to 37.3 miles per hour.

Drivers using the A4440 saw their average journeys increase by an extra six seconds to 40 seconds per mile in 2018.

Worcestershire County Council has already started tackling congestion in the city thanks to a £3.2 million boost from the government.

The money, which comes from the national productivity investment fund (NPIF), is handed out to councils to tackle congestion points and boost productivity on local roads.

The county council has already installed a new crossing on the very congested Croft Road and reworked the entrance to the Cattlemarket car park in attempt to cut traffic.

Work has already started in another of the city's congestion 'hotspots' in Sidbury where 40-year-old signals will be replaced at its junction with City Walls Road.

A new pedestrian crossing will also be installed across Commandery Road at its junction with Sidbury.

The council also plans to improve road widths, pavements and crossings in St John’s with work expected to be finished at the start of next year.