The advertising watchdog has criticised Brighton and Hove City Council and campaigners opposed to 20mph speed limits for making misleading and unsupported claims.
Two separate rulings by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) were published today (Wednesday 12 November) telling both sides that their adverts should not be used again in the same form.
The watchdog upheld three out of six complaints about a leaflet published by the council as part of a consultation. The complaints were made by Unchain the Brighton Motorist.
The ASA said: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Brighton and Hove City Council to ensure future ads did not make specific claims about the benefits of the scheme unless they held evidence to support them.”
The watchdog said: “Because the claims were so definitely worded but the evidence was not conclusive, we concluded that they had not been substantiated and were misleading.”
The claims were that a 20mph limit would
- encourage more walking and cycling for local trips
- bring significant health benefits
- reduce congestion
The watchdog also considered four complaints about a newspaper advert published by Unchain the Brighton Motorist.
It said: “The number of casualties on 20mph roads in Great Britain rose by 20 per cent in 2013, recent government figures show.
“A total of 437 people were seriously injured and 2,721 slightly injured in 2013 compared with 339 and 2,286 in 2012.
“However, the number of deaths in 2013 was six compared to nine in 2012.
“The number of all casualties rose from 2,634 in 2012 to 3,164 in 2013, which is a 20 per cent increase in one year.
“The number of injuries on roads with 30mph and 40mph speed limits decreased in 2013.
“Why has the number of casualties risen in roads where the 20mph limit is supposed to increase safety?”
The council, the campaign group Bricycles and two members of the public complained to the ASA.
The watchdog said: “The complainants, who understood there had been an increase in the number of roads with a 20mph speed limit during 2013, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
“We considered the presentation of the claims was such that it misleadingly suggested the government statistics had determined there to be a direct relationship between a 20mph speed limit itself and the increased number of casualties on those roads.
“The ad must not appear again in its current form.
“We told Unchain the Brighton Motorist to ensure they did not make claims, including implied claims, about the relationship between speed limits and casualties in future if they were not in a position to substantiate them.”