ULEZ Expansion Ads Off Air After False Green Claims
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has found that advertisements promoting the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) contained misleading information regarding pollution levels across the city and within vehicles.
According to the ASA, Transport for London (TfL), which operates Ulez, made claims in a radio ad that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels had decreased by nearly half due to the scheme. However, these claims were not supported by air quality measurements taken before and after the implementation of Ulez, as implied in the ad.
Instead, TfL based its assertions on the variance between current air quality readings and a hypothetical "non-Ulez scenario," failing to clarify this methodology in the advertisement and potentially misleading listeners, the ASA concluded.
Additionally, complaints were upheld regarding another TfL ad that stated most deaths related to air pollution occurred in outer London. This claim was based on estimated models rather than concrete data, leaving listeners likely misled due to the lack of explanation.
Similarly, the ASA found a claim in a radio ad by the Greater London Authority (GLA) stating that "one of the most polluted places in London is inside your car" to be misleading. While evidence supported the notion that car occupants are exposed to air pollution, the comparison with pollution levels in other areas of the city was not directly substantiated, potentially misinforming listeners.
In response to these rulings, both TfL and the GLA have been instructed by the ASA to ensure that future advertisements align claims with more closely related evidence.
TfL expressed disappointment with the ASA's decision, citing the common practice of using modelled scenarios and estimates in scientific analysis. While acknowledging the ASA's feedback, TfL stressed the impact of air pollution on public health and highlighted the role of Ulez in reducing emissions and improving air quality.
Similarly, a spokesperson for London Mayor Sadiq Khan defended the advertisement's scientific basis and approval process, stating that exposure to air pollution poses significant health risks supported by global studies. The spokesperson expressed confidence in the advertisement's accuracy and presentation of scientific evidence.
Source: Yahoo Finance