December 5, 2012

Advertising Standards Authority upholds complaint against Anglesey Against Wind Turbines

Dec 5 2012 |

A complaint made against an anti-wind turbine group has been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Complainants Môn a Gwynedd Friends of the Earth and Sustainable Energy Alliance said the ruling called into question the arguments made by campaign group Anglesey Against Wind Turbines (AAWT).

The anti-turbine group said the ASA’s decision denied its right to freedom of expression and that the ruling was “irrelevant”.

The complaint related to an AAWT leaflet which described the group’s opposition to “the industrialisation of the Anglesey landscape” by wind turbines.

The ASA agreed with the complainants that 11 statements made in the leaflet about the alleged negative effects of turbines were “misleading” and could not be substantiated.

AAWT has been told that the leaflet must not appear again in its current form and that the group should hold appropriate substantiation for any claims made.

Jonathan Lincoln of Sustainable Energy Alliance said: “We are obviously delighted by the conclusions reached by the ASA.

“The ruling must surely bring into question the validity of AAWT’s arguments against wind power and the submission put forward by AAWT to the county council.

“We believe that any petitions submitted to the council by AAWT should be deemed inadmissible since the signatories were clearly misled.”

Rick Mills, secretary of Môn a Gwynedd Friends of the Earth, said: “Hopefully people will now realise just how misleading AAWT’s campaign has been.

“We hope that in finalising their supplementary planning guidance on on-shore wind energy, the council will not give in to scaremongering and will recognise the benefits of wind energy as a low-carbon form of electricity generation.”

A statement by Anglesey Against Wind Turbines said: “AAWT believes that the actions of the ASA constitute a breach of Article 10 of the Human Rights Convention, which gives everyone the right to freedom of expression.

“The Committee of Advertising Practice Code under which the ASA operates brings within its scope any material which promotes ideas or causes, treating campaign groups of loosely associated individuals such as AAWT as if they are commercial firms advertising goods for sale.

“Individual supporters of AAWT refused to engage with the ASA’s so-called ‘investigation’ of its leaflet, other than to provide basic information and to inform the ASA that it had no jurisdiction in the matter and was in breach of the Human Rights Act.”

Richard Edwards of AAWT said: “What’s more important to people in Anglesey – that we fight wind turbines which will ruin the island and wreck its economy or waste time responding to the ASA? We choose to fight wind turbines.”

Campaigner Mairede Thomas said: “The ASA has no business interfering with the rights of individuals to communicate to their communities on issues that affect them.”

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