By Sofia Lotto Persio in Britain:
Ban on anti-fracking ad overturned
Thursday 22nd September 2016
Greenpeace celebrates as ban lifted
The environmental campaigners had put out an ad in January last year urging people to sign a petition against fracking for shale gas, claiming it “threatens our climate, our countryside and our water. Yet experts agree — it won’t cut our energy bills.”
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) originally banned the ad following a complaint by pro-fracking peer Lord Lipsey due to “significant division of informed opinion on the issue.”
Has the noble Lord Lipsey ever complained about untrue advertising by any multinational corporation?
Has any Big Tobacco fat cat ever been punished for advertisements falsely claiming that smoking is supposedly healthy?
If there was a Guinness Book of Records for the most absurd rulings ever issued, the UK advertising watchdog’s decision to ban a Greenpeace anti-fracking ad would surely be given pride of place in the 2015 edition: here.
However it has now reversed the decision following an appeal from Greenpeace, conceding that experts, including those from the UK Energy Research Centre and from the government, believe that “a meaningful reduction in domestic energy bills was highly unlikely and/or was limited to a small number of potential scenarios.”
“We therefore considered the claim as it was likely to be interpreted by readers had been substantiated and was not materially misleading,” ASA ruled.
Greenpeace fracking campaigner Hannah Martin said: “As the government desperately resorts to offering cash bribes to shore up support for this controversial industry, this decision will be a reminder that the benefits of fracking are, at best, uncertain whilst the side-effects are stark.”
Ms May announced on Tuesday that Britain will ratify the Paris agreement on climate change before the end of the year, committing the country to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5°C.
Her predecessor David Cameron was an enthusiastic supporter of fracking, saying it would boost energy security, create jobs and cut energy prices, while anti-fracking activists are worried about its effects on people’s health and the environment.
One of the areas at risk of fracking is Lancashire, where the local council denied an energy firm permission to frack in the area.
The decision may be overturned by Westminster on appeal, so a local group of anti-fracking mothers and grandmothers calling themselves Nanashire have pleaded to the Queen to keep Britain frack-free.
“It has to do with protecting our youth,” Tina Rothery from Nanashire said.
They will be demonstrating at the Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace [in London] on September 27.
UK advertising watchdog admits it was wrong to ban Greenpeace fracking advert: here.