Rugby Cemex told not to repeat ‘misleading’ emissions ad

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A CEMEX advert about emissions at its Rugby plant has been described as ‘misleading’ by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The Community Matters advertising supplement, published in the Advertiser on June 23 2011, said the Rugby plant had made “huge strides” in emissions reduction.

Lilian Pallikaropoulos, who campaigns against industrial pollution, complained to the ASA over whether the statement could be proven.

The ASA acknowledged that while overall emissions from the plant had been reduced, some emissions, such as ammonia, mercury and butadiene, “had increased significantly” since 2007.

The ASA’s assessment said: “The average consumer would interpret the general emissions reductions claims in the ad as statements that all individual emissions had been reduced, when we understood this was not the case.”

As a result the ASA has told Cemex the advert should not appear again in its current form.

Mrs Pallikaropoulos, who is also involved in an ongoing legal dispute with the Environment Agency (EA), said she was relieved that the ASA had ruled in her favour.

“This is great news and has made my Christmas. I think the people of Rugby have been misinformed over how much pollution goes on at Cemex and it’s important they are aware of it.

“The EA knew all along that some of the most damaging and dangerous emissions were increasing, and yet they joined Cemex in the advertisement, singing their praises instead of reporting that the emissions were increasing - just as we all said they would with waste burning.”

Cemex said the ASA did not challenge the firm’s statement that, since 2007, emissions had fallen by 18.5 per cent, that 37 of the 43 emissions reported upon either reduced or stayed the same and the six emissions that did increase stayed well within limits set by the EA.

A Cemex spokesman said: “The ASA’s interpretation is a somewhat technical one as the fact of emissions reduction is not challenged but in their view requires more explanation. This could be said to be a bit like criticising Manchester United for saying they won the Premiership title last season but failed to mention that they lost six games on the way.”

The Environment Agency did not wish to comment on the matter.