THE latest Winchester Movement Strategy proposals have been slated for not even mentioning the 'climate emergency'.

In June 2019, the city council declared the crisis and said the district would be carbon neutral by 2030.

But local environmental groups have been left dismayed after hearing an update on the council's plan to improve travel and transport.

At a health and environment policy committee, Chris Gillham, of Winchester Friends of the Earth, said that deaths from air pollution will outweigh the deaths from Covid-19.

He said: "I want to praise the city council's hard work and efforts towards this, there are some great points.

"But shouldn't the climate emergency be the top priority? It's not even mentioned.

"So many lives have been lost from air pollution in the last few years and this will outweigh the mortality rate of coronavirus.

"Ways to reach this goal need to be considered. The park and ride has had very little success in reducing traffic in the city centre."

Phil Gagg of Winchester Action on Climate Change agreed with Mr Gillham.

He added: "Just under 60 per cent of all carbon emissions come from transport in the Winchester district.

"This strategy needs to be tied much more closely to the carbon plan. Yet carbon dioxide is not even mentioned."

Cllr Martin Tod responded to the criticism.

"We are all aware that both the city and county council have declared the emergencies," he said.

"But this Movement Strategy was in the works before either of them were declared. But public transport and carbon emissions are very much in the council's scope.

"The new parking and access strategy was agreed earlier this year, and we are incorporating the climate emergency into almost everything we do."

The updated Movement Strategy has three main priorities: to reduce city centre traffic, support healthier lifestyle choices and invest infrastructure to support sustainable growth.

Both Hampshire County and Winchester City councils have put together the plans, which can be viewed in full online.

The authorities hope to improve cycling and walking routes both in and into the city centre, reduce congestion and encourage the use of public transport.

Vice chairman of the City of Winchester Trust, John Beveridge, said: "Make sure this is done right the first time.

"We don't want to see what has happened in Salisbury – the council introduced changes to traffic management and parking, but had to reverse all of these changes after feedback.

"Build a vision so the action is not objected to."

Cllr Martin Tod said: "It would be brilliant to get all of the organisations in Winchester on board as partners for this."