Watchdog bans Greenpeace anti-fracking advert

A Greenpeace advert claiming experts agreed fracking would not cut energy bills has been banned. The national press advert stated: “Fracking threatens our climate, our countryside and our water. Yet […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A Greenpeace advert claiming experts agreed fracking would not cut energy bills has been banned.

The national press advert stated: “Fracking threatens our climate, our countryside and our water. Yet experts agree – it won’t cut our energy bills.”

Labour peer David Lipsey, who understood there was a range of views on whether fracking would reduce energy prices, complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about the advert being misleading.

The ASA asked Greenpeace to provide proof of a consensus among experts.

The environmental group explained the government supported fracking and cited two quotes that appeared in news articles from Prime Minister David Cameron.

They also provided quotes from 22 people, groups and organisations about the impact of fracking on prices, including Energy Secretary Ed Davey and three different spokespersons from Cuadrilla.

The ASA ruled Greepeace’s claim in the advert would be interpreted by consumers to mean “there was a general consensus among those of informed opinion that fracking would not reduce the price of energy”.

“We also noted only a minority of the quotes provided by Greenpeace decisively stated fracking would not reduce the cost of energy bills while others highlighted the unlikeliness of or lack of evidence for: the development; pointed out the limitations of the impact; or referred to specific conditions that would be required to enable the reduction of prices,” it added.

Greenpeace dismissed the decision as “baseless, biased and bonkers”.

UK Energy and Climate Campaigner Louise Hutchins said: “An authority led by a fracking advocate has ruled in favour of a pro-fracking Lord merely on the basis of the opinion of an avowedly pro-fracking prime minister.

“We quoted 22 different expert opinions to back up our statement that fracking won’t bring down bills. The ASA could only find shale enthusiast David Cameron to defend the opposite view.”