Windfarm firm 'did not mislead' - ruling

A green energy company has been vindicated after the advertising watchdog dismissed a claim that it put out misleading information.Diss-based Enertrag plans to submit a planning application for a seven-turbine wind farm at Hempnall in the coming weeks.

A green energy company has been vindicated after the advertising watchdog dismissed a claim that it put out misleading information.

Diss-based Enertrag plans to submit a planning application for a seven-turbine wind farm at Hempnall in the coming weeks.

A complaint was lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after it put out a flyer stating that “70pc of the public support onshore windfarms” and “climate change will alter your landscape far more and forever”. The complainant, a private householder, challenged whether the company could substantiate the claims.

Responding to the ASA, Enertrag said many studies of public support for wind farms had been made and its 70pc claim was conservative.


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The company explained that the second claim was intended to compare the local, reversible effect of turbines with the irreversible effect of global warming. It supplied documents from sources including the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change and Defra which, it said, catalogued the potential changes to the environment and landscape which would be brought about by climate change.

In an adjudication published today, the ASA says it will not uphold either complaint.

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It says Enertrag sent in details of several surveys of public support for wind farms. One piece of research conducted by Mori for a UK energy supplier showed 72pc of respondents said they would support wind farms on the land. This was conducted in late 2005 and 1,931 British adults took part. The ASA concluded Enertrag had substantiated the claim.

Dave Linley, manager of projects at Enertrag, said: “Obviously we are very pleased. I think it was common sense at the end of the day. These statements were not taken out of fresh air: they were taken from government sources.”

But Geoff Moulton, chairman of SHOWT, a campaign group fighting the proposals, said: “Enertrag have not conducted any polls of Hempnall or surrounding villages to see what people think about this application. However, last autumn district councillor Michael Windridge conducted an independent survey. He sent out questionnaires to every household in Hempnall. Out of 574 responses, 477 of those, or 83pc, were opposed to the plans.”

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