The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has cracked down on an anti-fracking leaflet produced by Friends of the Earth for containing misleading information.
The ASA informally resolved a case against Friends of the Earth Trust Ltd and Friends of the Earth Ltd today (4th January 2017) after it received three complaints over the allegations made by FoE.
Complaints were submitted to ASA by Cuadrilla, an energy company at the forefront of pushing fracking within the UK, and two prominent pro-fracking individuals.
The charity published fundraising leaflets seeking donations which listed concerns held by the charity regarding fracking technologies.
After a 14-month investigation by ASA, the FoE charity was chastised for making misleading claims that include:Fracking could increase the risk of cancer by 25%, increase asthma rates for local residents, and would cause water contamination, plummeting house prices and higher insurance bills.
FoE has “agreed not to repeat the claims , or claims that had the same meaning.”
A spokesperson for ASA said that it had told FoE not to make claims about the likely effects of fracking “in the absence of adequate evidence.”
ASA resolved the case informally after Friends of the Earth agreed not repeat the claims they made in the original flyer.
Chief Executive of Cuadrilla Francis Ergin says:
“Friends of the Earth’s repeated falsehoods have been exposed as nothing more than scaremongering designed to frighten the public into giving it money.”
Friends of the Earth responded by accusing Cuadrilla of trying to “shut down opposition to fracking”. FoE were also keen to highlight that ASA “had dropped the case” by making it an informal ruling.
Meanwhile the regulator stressed that although the ruling was informal, it had the power to take enforcement action if the claims were repeated.
ASA further added:
“We have told Friends of the Earth not to make claims about the likely effects of fracking on the health of local populations, drinking water, or property prices in the absence of adequate evidence”