Following an intensive 14 month investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority, the charity Friends of the Earth (FoE) has agreed with the regulator that it made a series of false claims about fracking in a fundraising leaflet sent to thousands of homes in the UK entitled ‘Pat Saved Her Home From Fracking. You Can Save Yours too’.
Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said:
“After many attempts by Friends of the Earth to delay this decision, the charity’s 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.”
Friends of the Earth has committed to the ASA that “it will not to repeat the claims, or claims which have the same meaning, in future”.
The agreement covers the false claims that:
the fluid used in fracking contains chemicals dangerous to human health, and that the fluid would, as a natural consequence of the act of fracking, contaminate the drinking water of nearby communities because it remained underground;
the US fracking site [the FoE leaflet] referred to was responsible for the increase in asthma rates, and that the public would be at risk of equivalent increases in asthma rates by living or working near a fracking site in the UK;
that there is an established risk of the chemicals concerned causing cancer and other conditions among the local population, when used in fracking in the UK;
that fracking will cause plummeting house prices.
During its investigation the ASA spoke extensively to UK regulators and independent academics before reaching its conclusion.