ASA Adjudication on Anglesey Against Wind Turbines
Anglesey Against Wind Turbines
15 August 2012
Number of complaints:
A regional press ad for the group Anglesey Against Wind Turbines showed a photograph of several wind turbines in a rolling landscape. Text above stated "COMING TO A FIELD NEAR YOU!" A diagram showed a wind turbine measuring 100 m in height, next to the Marquis Column (a landmark on Anglesey) measuring 27 m. Text underneath stated "Anglesey County Council have produced a Supplementary Planning Guidance on onshore wind turbines. In its current state this will not safeguard our island from the onset of turbine development. The consultation period comes to an end at 5:00pm, Friday the 10th February 2012. We all need to respond! For further information visit [website]".
Livos Energy challenged whether the impression given in the ad by the photograph, the diagram and the text that accompanied them was misleading and could be substantiated, because they understood there were no plans in the area for wind farms such as the one pictured, or turbines 100 m high.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Anglesey Against Wind Turbines (AAWT) said the Marquis Column in Llanfairpwll was 27 m high but that its height at its base was in the region of 60–65 m above sea level, which gave a total height above sea level of 87–92 m. They used that as a reference point because the Marquis Column was clearly visible as one approached Anglesey. They supplied details of three screening applications for industrial scale wind turbines in the Penmynydd and Rhoscefnhir areas of Anglesey where, taking the base height above sea level into account, the turbines would reach between 131 and 175 m above sea level, and four other turbines that had been proposed in the south of Anglesey, where the turbines would reach 82.75–121.0 m above sea level. They said the height above sea level that these turbines would reach indicated that they would be visible as one approached Anglesey.
AAWT did not comment specifically on the photograph or the text.
The ASA noted that the diagram showed the height of the Marquis Column as 27 m, which did not include the height above sea level of its base, against a wind turbine that reached a height of 100 m. Of the seven wind turbine proposals AAWT referred to in their response, the highest, without including the height above sea level of its base, was 85 m and none reached 100 m. We acknowledged that, in future, other applications for larger turbines and larger groups of turbines might be made. However, we considered that the heading "COMING TO A FIELD NEAR YOU" suggested that AAWT had good grounds for suggesting that what was shown or suggested in the ad was very likely to happen or had been proposed. We considered that the diagram suggested the turbines were likely to appear approximately 73 m taller than the Marquis Column and that groups of approximately nine turbines were proposed. Because AAWT had not supplied evidence that showed those were the case, we concluded that the impression given by the photograph, the diagram and the text that accompanied them had not been substantiated and was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told AAWT to ensure they held substantiation for any direct or implied claims made in their ads for proposals for future wind turbine development.