Anti-frackers face poster rap

Trouble: The Friends of the Earth poster
Trouble: The Friends of the Earth poster
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Green campaigners have been rapped over a poster making unsubstantiated claims about fracking.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has said that a leaflet published in 2015 by Friends of the Earth (FOE), which featured a photograph of a prominent local campaigner, made claims which it could not back up with evidence.

Friends of the Earth’s repeated falsehoods have been exposed as nothing more than scaremongering designed to frighten the public into giving it money

Francis Egan

The leaflet was distributed in September with the slogan “Pat (Davies) saved her home from fracking, you can save yours too”.

Shale gas exploration company Cuadrilla complained to the ASA, as did other campaigners, and now after FOE asked for time to put together evidence to back their claims, the ASA has said FOE has agreed not to republish it.

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said: “After many attempts by Friends of the Earth to delay this decision, the charity’ admission that all of the claims it made, that we complained about, were false should hopefully put a stop to it misleading the UK public on fracking.

“Friends of the Earth’s repeated falsehoods have been exposed as nothing more than scaremongering designed to frighten the public into giving it money.

“It is the unacceptable face of the charity sector.”

A spokesman from the ASA today confirmed the decision.

Donna Hume, senior campaigner, Friends of the Earth, said: “Cuadrilla’s complaint isn’t surprising from a profit-driven fracking company, after all, they have shareholders to keep happy.

“They started this process to distract from the real issues about fracking, and how burning fossil fuels is dangerous for climate change.

“This is a pro-fracking company doing all they can to shut down opposition to fracking.

“It hasn’t worked though. What’s happened instead is that the ASA has dropped the case without ruling.

“We continue to campaign against fracking, alongside local people, because the process is inherently risky.”