Planning decisions must take air quality into account – so a council falsified the data

NOT the developer, the COUNCIL. Do we need any better evidence that it appears some councils no longer work for us but DO appear to work for (andcan be corrupted by) developers?

Cheshire East is the council that has suspended its CEO, its Financial Officer and Chief Legal Officer for unknown reasons. The CEO formerly worked at Torbay.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-39495102

Though, of course, suspension is a neutral act and doesnot imply guilt.

http://www.knutsfordguardian.co.uk/news/15416114.Second_senior_management_suspension_as_Cheshire_East_Council_investigates_misconduct_allegations/

On that air pollution scandal:

“A local authority has admitted its air pollution data was deliberately manipulated for three years to make it look cleaner.

Cheshire East council apologised after serious errors were made in air quality readings from 2012 to 2014.

It is reviewing planning applications amid fears falsified data may have affected decisions in at least five towns. It said it would reveal the full list of sites affected this week.

When considering planning applications councillors have to look at several factors, including whether a development will introduce new sources of air pollution or release large amounts of dust during construction.

Government’s air quality plan branded inadequate by city leaders
“It is clear that these errors are the result of deliberate and systematic manipulation of data from a number of diffusion tubes,” a statement on the council website said.

Sean Hannaby, the director of planning and sustainable development, said: “On behalf of the council I would like to sincerely apologise in respect of these findings, we would like to assure everyone that we have done everything we can to rectify these failings.”

He added: “There are no immediate health protection measures needed as a result of these errors.”

Cheshire East council, like all other authorities, monitors nitrogen dioxide levels on sites throughout the borough as part of work to improve air quality. The information is then submitted to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Oliver Hayes, a Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, said the fact that the data was falsified was outrageous. He said: “Residents will rightly be wondering what this means for their and their families’ health. The council needs to be fully transparent about how far the numbers were manipulated and what impact this has had on the local area.”

He added: “If this is happening in Cheshire East, where else across the country are pollution figures being lied about? … National and local government need to get serious about dealing with this invisible killer, not just cooking the books and hoping the issue will go away.”

An internal review by council auditors last year found the air quality data submitted was different to the original data from the council’s monitoring equipment. It prompted an external investigation, the results of which were released last week.

The falsified data was from testing stations spread over a wide geographical area, according to the report. It noted: “The air quality team have reviewed their internal processes and procedures to ensure that the risk of data adjustment is minimised. There are now a number of quality control measures in place.”

Cheshire police said officers would review the case to establish if any criminal offences occurred.

A Defra spokesperson said: “We are aware of this issue and understand the local authority is now considering its response to the investigation.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/02/cheshire-east-council-admits-falsifying-air-pollution-data

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