Wednesday, 2 March 2011


A year or so ago we were able to report that the independent advertising regulator had slammed VVASP for publicising unsubstantiated and untruthful information about the proposed Lenchwick Windfarm.

In short, Vale Villages Against Scottish Power had told people that the windfarm would change the landscape "forever", that the "constant noise" would creates migraines and sleep disorders, and that houses in the immediate area could lose up to 54% of their value. These foolish and maniacal claims were based on extremely poor quality research and were nothing more than scare-mongering lies published by a self-interested nimby group in order to spread fear and alarm. So, quite rightly, the ASA took issue with them over this. Making false claims in print is something they're very much against.

However, nimbies are what nimbies are. That is, they are unreasonable, vindictive and obsessed with proving their fatuous points.

Someone recently complained to the ASA about an advertisement run by Good Energy, the "UK's only dedicated 100% renewable energy supplier". Good Energy had pointed out that while other companies also generate electricity by means of fossil fuels and nuclear, they themselves stick rigidly to an energy mix that is "100% renewable". Bless 'em.

So what could possibly be wrong about that? Well, if you're a deluded anti-wind pro-nuke nimby nutter, EVERYTHING.

Especially the fact that Good Energy does NOT supply 100% renewable energy to customers. No, that energy goes into the national grid. Where it gets mixed up with all sorts of electricity produced in the Bad Old Ways. Therefore, once Good Energy has generated its electricity 100% renewably, that electricity ceases to be 100% renewable as soon as it enters the national grid.

The ASA have upheld that complaint. And maybe they're right to do so. A consumer might have fallen into the trap of thinking that every step along the way from turbine to television set was renewable, with never a hint of anything dirty happening en route. They might have, but we suspect that most electricity consumers would have worked out what Good Energy were saying (they use only 100% renewable sources) and left it at that. It must have taken a real pedant, an absolute renewables refusenik, to make the complaint. It was petty and a total waste of the ASA's time.

VVASP spat feathers when they were caught out lying to people about the horrors of windfarms (tumbling house prices! imminent mental illness! a landscape changed forever!). In the mad world of the nimby, spreading lies like that is utterly permissible ("We're only a volunteer group!" they screamed - "Why didn't the ASA punish ScottishPower Renewables for making us tell such tall stories?"). At the same time, saying that your electricity sources is "100% renewable" is not acceptable. Even if they are.

Another way of putting this is: nimby groups and anti-windfarm nutters can say whatever they want, convinced that their mission excuses - nay, allows them to tell lies (all for the "greater good", supposedly). But windfarm developers are not allowed to make any claims at all.

The ASA is a great organisation. What a shame that nimby idiots insist on abusing the existence of a regulator in order to score points against the renewables industry, especially when there are so many real liars about, spreading their silly stories about wind turbines to confuse the unwary.

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