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.

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