Watchdog brands Boris Johnson’s clean air advert ‘misleading’

The UK’s advertising watchdog has slammed Boris Johnson’s advert, suggesting it has misled the public. The London Mayor and Transport for London’s (TfL) Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) adverts stated […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The UK’s advertising watchdog has slammed Boris Johnson’s advert, suggesting it has misled the public.

The London Mayor and Transport for London’s (TfL) Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) adverts stated “introducing the zone in 2020 will encourage the use of newer, cleaner vehicles to reduce vehicle pollution by half.”

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) made the ruling following a complaint from the Clean Air London Campaign.

Founder Simon Birkett complained TfL had based its predictions on computer modelling rather than exhaust emissions and that it was inaccurate as it only covered nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) and excluded other major polluting elements.

The ASA agreed, stating: “We considered the claim that vehicle pollution would be reduced by half was likely to be interpreted by consumers as relating to all types of vehicle pollution, unless it was made clear that it related only to certain types. We considered, for example, that consumers would expect carbon dioxide (CO2) to be included in the figure.”

It added: “Because the claim related only to NO2 and NOx vehicle emissions and excluded, for example, the figures for CO2, and total PM10 and PM2.5 emissions, we concluded the claim was misleading.”

TfL said it will appeal against the decision.

Michele Dix, TfL’s Managing Director with responsibility for ULEZ added: “Due to the complex nature of the proposals, the advert was designed to capture the most important points and avoid confusing jargon. It gave an overview of the plans and encouraged people to visit our website for more information and to take part in a full public consultation.

“Once in place the ULEZ will significantly improve air quality and in turn the health of Londoners.”