CIVIC chiefs have heard the latest on the state of plans to make residents in Winchester breathe easier.

The Air Quality Action Plan, which will go before cabinet in September, aims to improve the air quality in Winchester with a raft of measures.

David Ingram, head of environmental health, who made a presentation to city councillors, said measures that had been introduced thus far had been successful, with higher parking charges in the city centre leading to more people using the park and ride and car parks on the outskirts.

Meanwhile, restrictions placed on delivery vehicles in the city centre has led to a slight reduction in congestion at peak times on the one-way system.

However, Mr Ingram admitted that there was still issues with congestion on St George’s Street and more needed to be needed to be done to crack down on private bin contractors parking and causing tailbacks.

Proposals for a new park and ride in the north of Winchester, which are also part of Hampshire County Council’s strategy, is currently in the second consultation phase and tests are underway to see whether this would prove to be beneficial. A site at Kings Barton, also known as Barton Farm, has been identified.

The current plan also includes proposals that would see diesel vehicles charged more to park in the city centre in a bid to dissuade them from coming into the city centre. Mr Ingram said that the council was looking into technology which could identify vehicles in council car parks and program machines to provide tariffs based on vehicle type. He said that this technology could also be used to provide discounts for smaller less polluting vehicles “to provide both a carrot and a stick”.

The plans could also see a clean air zone created in Winchester, limiting or banning HGVs and diesel buses coming into the city. Mr Ingram said that that they would be looking very closely at the work currently being done in Southampton.

Other measures include making sure that the council felt are greener by 2020, providing more electronic vehicle charging points around the city and introducing more car clubs to reduce car ownership in the city.

The action plan will be voted on by civic chiefs in September.