Friends of the Earth has denied claims that a leaflet it produced on fracking is "misleading” after an energy firm complained to both the Advertising Standards Agency and the Fundraising Standards Board about it.
A spokeswoman from Cuadrilla told Civil Society News that the firm has lodged the complaints because the “leaflet that Friends of the Earth published is misleading to the public”. She said that this is because claims Cuadrilla is using fracking chemicals that could cause cancer are incorrect, and because the leaflet “shows a picture of a site where no fracking is taking place and there are no licenses to frack”.
The ASA has confirmed that one complaint about the Friends of the Earth leaflet has been lodged with them. A spokeswoman said that the “complainant believes that the statements made in the leaflet are misleading”. She said that the ASA is currently “assessing the complaint to establish if there are grounds for further action”.
The FRSB has also confirmed that it has received a complaint about the leaflet.
The leaflet claimed that 25 per cent of chemicals used during the fracking process could cause cancer.
'Claims are nonsensical', says FoE
Friends of the Earth has denied any suggestion that the leaflet is misleading.
Donna Hume, senior energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Claims that Friends of the Earth is deliberately misleading the public on fracking are nonsensical.
“Our leaflet highlights the well documented risks from fracking that have led to it being banned or put on hold in New York State, Scotland, Wales, Holland and France.
“The fact is that fracking companies and the Government are trying to foist fracking on communities that do not want it and that the UK does not need.
“The public is right to be concerned about a controversial and risky technique that produces more dirty fossil fuels that cause climate change and could contaminate our water.”
The Reverend Michael Roberts, a former geologist, has called the leaflet “scaremongering” in a blog post, and has said he is also complaining to the ASA.
He said that the presentation of fracking in the leaflet, which was also included in copies of Private Eye and the Sunday Times, is “inaccurate, flawed and misleading”.
He also questioned the use of pictures of Grasmere in the Lake District, which he said is completely unsuitable for fracking as the rocks contain no carbon-rich material.