London ULEZ claims ‘misleading’, says UK advertising watchdog

The Advertising Standards Authority has responded to high numbers of complaints about Transport for London claims for the ULEZ

ULEZ sign

Transport for London (TFL) and the Greater London Authority (GLA) made misleading claims about the Ultra Low Emissions Zone expansion, the UK’s advertising watchdog has ruled.

The Advertising Standards Authority criticised one GLA radio advert promoting the ULEZ expansion, which claimed “according to research, one of the most polluted places in London is inside your car. That’s why ULEZ is expanding across all London Boroughs”.

While the GLA provided a slew of reports and studies in an effort to substantiate its claim that a car’s interior is one of the most polluted places in London, the ASA ruled that the data provided failed to provide justification, and it was therefore misleading. The ASA did not dispute that car drivers would be exposed to pollution, but said the TFL evidence didn’t directly relate to how typical consumers might use their cars in London, and therefore could not be used to substantiate its claims.

The ASA also ruled against a claim made on TV and radio ads by TFL that attributed a near 50 percent fall in Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) concentrations in central London to ULEZ implementation. The ASA stated that members of the public would reasonably expect such claims to be based on actual ‘before and after’ measurements of N02 concentrations, but in fact they were based on calculated ‘scenarios’ and this wasn’t made clear in the adverts. 

More than 500 complaints were received about the ads, and the ASA also upheld a complaint against an advertising claim from TFL that “that most air pollution related deaths actually occur in Outer London areas”, saying it was potentially misleading as it was based on modelled estimates rather than factual data about ‘actual’ deaths.

TFL said it is disappointed with the rulings, pointing out that the ASA did not challenge any of the science it says supports its claims, and that the rulings centre on “minor technical points” that it will take into account when wording future adverts.

What are your thoughts on the ULEZ? Tell us in the comments section below...

Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

Recommended

Plenty of UK car buyers still love a new car number plate
Volkswagen ID.7 - tailgate
News

Plenty of UK car buyers still love a new car number plate

Is a new number plate still the status symbol it once was? Our exclusive poll suggests that car buyers do care
24 Feb 2024
UK road maintenance work slashed by almost half in five years
Road resurfacing
News

UK road maintenance work slashed by almost half in five years

Council road repairs are down by 45 per cent compared to 2017/18, the latest data shows
24 Feb 2024
6,600 arrested in police annual drug and drink driving purge
Drink driving
News

6,600 arrested in police annual drug and drink driving purge

The Police ‘Op Limit’ campaign over xmas 2023 resulted in 6,616 arrests, with 14 per cent of over 50,000 tests showing positive results
22 Feb 2024
Banned car number plates: the 24-reg numbers too rude for the roads
Number plates
News

Banned car number plates: the 24-reg numbers too rude for the roads

The DVLA has revealed its list of new-for-2024 number plates judged too saucy for the streets, and there are plenty of potential shockers on the banne…
21 Feb 2024

Most Popular

New MG3 hopes to disrupt the Renault Clio and Vauxhall Corsa’s supermini dominance
MG3 on Geneva Motor Show stand - front
News

New MG3 hopes to disrupt the Renault Clio and Vauxhall Corsa’s supermini dominance

New MG3 features the company’s first full-hybrid powertrain; pricing to be announced in March
26 Feb 2024
New Renault 5 leaked: pictures surface online ahead of Monday's Geneva Motor Show reveal
renault 5 teaser
News

New Renault 5 leaked: pictures surface online ahead of Monday's Geneva Motor Show reveal

The long-awaited all-electric reboot of the iconic Renault 5 will be fully unveiled on 26 February 2024
24 Feb 2024
'Cheap SUVs are where the smart money's going in today's car market'
Opinion - Volkswagen T-Roc
Opinion

'Cheap SUVs are where the smart money's going in today's car market'

Mike Rutherford thinks sensibly priced SUVs are the natural successor to less spacious family hatchbacks
25 Feb 2024