Was this woman a scapegoat for the failure of others at ‘Your Waverley?’

A former Waverley council officer has been convicted of air quality fraud.

However, there is no mention of the fact that the offence was reported to the council by a member of the public, and had not been spotted internally.

A report in the Farnham Herald led Farnham-based air quality expert David Harvey to question the council’s data – while The Farnham Society also raised concerns that Waverley was dramatically underestimating the town’s pollution problem.

Well done David Harvy = and well done to the Farnham Herald.

The errors were confirmed by council chiefs just a month after the report was published, in June 2017, prompting an independent audit of the borough’s air quality monitoring and reporting arrangements.

The WW wonders why the offence continued for so long without being spotted by more senior officers? And, who was her line-manager?

The results of this audit were then referred to Surrey Police in February 2018, with a court date and location for Ms Wade to answer the ensuing charges to be arranged in “due course.”

Now the former air quality officer has been handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work after admitting she fudged pollution data.

Ann-Marie Wade, 44, of Durrington, Wiltshire, was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court last Thursday,  after pleading guilty to deliberately submitting false air quality figures to Waverley Borough Council between March and December 2015, and a separate charge for the same offence for all of 2016.

She was handed a 12-month prison term, suspended for 12 months, and also told to pay costs of £1,500.

A third fraud charge relating to alleged fraudulently-claimed expenses during Wade’s time at the council, which she denied, will lie on her file after the Crown Prosecution Service opted not to pursue a conviction.

Waverley Borough Council said in a statement released after Wade’s sentencing: “The council takes the issue of air quality extremely seriously and recognises that it is an important issue for our residents.

“That is why we acted promptly by commissioning an independent audit investigation after discovering issues with the reporting and monitoring of the council’s air quality data and subsequently asking the police to investigate.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this case and would like to thank Surrey Police for their hard work on this investigation, and the CPS for ensuring that justice prevailed.

“We will now focus on continuing to guarantee that our routine monitoring of air quality is carried out to the highest standards.

“Following our independent audit investigation, we reviewed our procedures and appointed independent contractors to carry out all of our monitoring.

“Our diffusion tube data is published online monthly and our analyser data is also published online in near real-time.”

Residents in other parts of the borough are also calling for diffusion tubes. The residents of Bramley are becoming increasingly concerned about the fumes filtering through the narrow village street an into shops and businesses. Also at the Crossways Junction in Alfold. Will the borough council be rolling out its air quality programme soon?

3 thoughts on “Was this woman a scapegoat for the failure of others at ‘Your Waverley?’”

  1. If the Council say they are really serious about Farnham’s air quality, then why do their Planning Officers continue to recommend that permission be granted for planning applications that involve more housing in Farnham’s town centre?
    Surely they should all be banned until the traffic congestion is removed by the relief roads that we keep hearing about. That would focus some minds at Council level.

  2. Your suggestions sound far too sensible for the planners to take on board – because infrastructure and traffic management takes second place to build new homes.

    However, if we are to believe what we were all told, this could change with the new Government. The Tories pledged that it would make major changes to the planning system, and infrastructure, including schools; GP surgeries and other medical facilities as well as roads, would have to be built before homes are built.
    Well, if you believe that you will no doubt believe that Mary Poppins was a junkie.

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