Adverts for the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) made misleading claims about pollution levels across the capital and inside cars because they relied on modelling estimates and not actual data, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled. The Independent has more.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said claims made by Transport for London (TfL), which runs Ulez, that levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) had reduced by almost half as a result of the scheme were not based on measurements of air quality taken before and after it was implemented, as listeners of the radio ad might expect.
Instead, TfL based its claim on calculating the difference between current air quality measurements and a “non-Ulez scenario”, but without qualifying this for listeners and likely misleading them, the ASA found.
The ASA also upheld complaints about claims in a second TfL ad that most deaths related to air pollution “actually” occurred in outer London, when this was in fact based on modelled estimates.
The ASA said the ad was likely to mislead listeners because it did not explain the basis of the claim.
In a separate ruling, the ASA found a claim made in a radio ad by the Greater London Authority that “according to research, one of the most polluted places in London is inside your car” was misleading.
The ASA said evidence provided by the GLA did establish that car users were exposed to air pollution when inside their vehicle and that it could be higher than when using other forms of transport.
However, the GLA had not directly compared pollution inside a car in London with other locations around the city, meaning it had not been adequately substantiated and was likely to mislead listeners.
The ASA, which received a total of 504 complaints about six TfL ads for Ulez and 38 complaints about the GLA ad – only some of which were upheld – stressed that it was not its role to rule on the validity of Ulez, but rather to assess whether claims made in the ads were presented alongside robust evidence.
The watchdog has told both TfL and the GLA to ensure that claims relate to relevant evidence more closely in future.
Credit to the ASA for refusing to go along with the idea that modelling is robust evidence – one of the foundational tenets of the modern technocratic regime that brought us Net Zero and Covid lockdowns. Please can the ASA be put in charge of the Covid Inquiry?
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: The ASA has also ruled that electric cars cannot be advertised as “zero emission” because of the carbon dioxide that is generated when they are made and charged. The Telegraph notes this ruling is actually at odds with the Government’s own messaging, which calls battery-powered EVs “zero emission vehicles” for the purposes of the newly introduced ZEV mandate.