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
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.
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