COUNCIL chiefs have been criticised over a report investigating city air quality.

Winchester City Council cabinet members were presented with a plan to take action on the issue within the centre.

Data shows that more areas of central Winchester are improving and meeting national standards for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), an environmental pollutant.

Several of the main routes into and out of the city centre, such as Andover Road, Chesil Street, St Cross Road and Alresford Road, which have historically exceeded legal limits for NO2, are now showing compliance according to monitoring in 2019.

During the meeting an update on the plan was given to promote greener and cleaner ways to travel. However, the cabinet was told that more work is needed when it comes to Romsey Road.

Despite the achievements, Conservative opposition councillor Frank Pearson aired concerns with Cllr Jackie Porter, member of built environment and wellbeing.

Cllr Pearson said: “Unfortunately I can’t say that it goes far enough, what it is is accurate and it is very pleasing and it is a very useful piece of information but as the paper says if we have to adopt WHO (World Health Organisation) standards of 25microgrammes per km we’ve got problems.”

The WHO is expected to a set a mandatory level for nitrogen dioxide emissions.

He continued: “At present most of the recording points, we record for NO2, we are approaching the level where we can be satisfied that the monitoring has illustrated that the changes of technology in vehicles is actually improving air quality, as far as vehicles are concerned.”

Cllr Porter responded, stating the council were looking at pollution from houses particularly in the Air Quality Management Area, parts of the centre which focussed on reducing air pollution levels, but she added that she was aware that this was an issue right across the district.

It was also noted by cabinet member Cllr Kelsie Learney that there was a focus on electric cars, to which she said: “I think we do need to be positive about electric cars, but we do need to keep pushing that message, fewer cars not just different ones.”