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Police probe withdrawn Waverley air quality report

Surrey Police has launched an investigation into an air quality report compiled by Waverley borough council, which was withdrawn due to inaccuracies in data.

The council withdrew its 2016 Air Quality Report in October, after an independent review had found that ‘bias adjustment factors’ had been applied incorrectly. Bias adjustments can be used by local authorities to adjust data where interference may be skewing readings.

The 2016 report suggested that Farnham (pictured) had ‘slightly’ exceeded annual mean levels for nitrogen dioxide emissions

The report, which was initially published in May and covers 2015, suggested that air quality had improved across the borough, although some areas, in particular in the town of Farnham, had ‘slightly’ exceeded annual mean levels for nitrogen dioxide emissions.

However, concerns were raised that adjustments made to the data to account for potential interference in the readings had not been applied correctly.

Review

The council commissioned an independent review into the report, findings of which were received late last year, confirming that the bias factor used by the council had been applied incorrectly.

Surrey Police has now launched an investigation to establish ‘whether any criminal offences have taken place’ in relation to the report.

A spokesperson for Surrey Police said: “Surrey Police is investigating following concerns reported to police over an official council environmental report.

“No arrests have been made and an investigation is ongoing to establish whether any criminal offences have taken place.”

A council spokesperson added: “The final version of the audit report has been received. The report has been passed onto the police, who are now investigating. We can’t say anymore until their investigation is completed.”

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