ASA critical of BNFL ‘Sellafield is safe’ ads

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has censured British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) for making misleading claims in a press campaign about the effects of its Sellafield operations on the environment.

The ads used the tagline: “The future of the environment is in safe hands” and showed a butterfly flying away from a hand. The text beneath the ad said: “The Sellafield Team cares passionately about the safety of its workforce, the local community and the environment… With the Sellafield Team, the environment is in safe hands.”

The ASA has ruled that BNFL cannot predict the effects of Sellafield on the environment and therefore the “absolute claim” in the campaign is misleading.

BNFL has long struggled with an image problem, thanks to widespread concerns about the use of nuclear fuels. The Sellafield nuclear complex, based in Cumbria, is associated with the discovery of a high incidence of childhood leukaemia in a nearby village in 1983.

The ASA has upheld complaints against a direct mail campaign by Halifax, which compared its loan rates to those of rival Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). The ASA branded the Halifax mailing as misleading. It has also asked the advertiser to ensure that all information quoted in comparative advertisements is correct in future. The complaints were made by RBS.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here