Watchdog bans a ‘misleading’ fracking leaflet

A Cuadrilla staff member at work at exploration rigs in Lancashire
A Cuadrilla staff member at work at exploration rigs in Lancashire
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A leaflet distributed by the firm behind Lancashire’s fracking industry has been banned.

The Advertising Standards Agency upheld six of 18 complaints made by anti-fracking group Refracktion about a leaflet posted by Cuadrilla Resources to homes in the county.

The group has called on the company to apologise for claims which it says appeared “without adequate substance”.

But Cuadrilla has hit back, saying the watchdog had validated a number of its claims, despite failing to consult with scientists before reaching its verdict.

A Refracktion spokesman claimed: “What we can clearly see here is the necessary ‘conversation’ is not being distorted by ‘extremists’, 
but by Cuadrilla Resources itself. The level of distrust in the community is growing daily – and Cuadrilla’s insistence on hiding behind the screen of a public relations company to do its crisis management is one of the main reasons why this is happening.”

The ASA said the leaflet, published last summer, contained misleading advertising, unproven claims and exaggeration. It has also told Cuadrilla the leaflet must not be published again without changes.

Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, said it was “disappointed” at ASA’s decision on parts of the company’s leaflet which had been distributed.

He added: “It is important to note the ASA has confirmed hydraulic fracturing can be done safely. We do believe it should have consulted scientific experts before reaching its conclusions.”