Trade Associations, The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) and OFTEC welcome the decision today by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that a poster distributed by a renewable heating supplier about the cost-efficiency of air-source heat pumps is misleading following challenges by both organisations. The ASA has advised the supplier that their poster must not appear again in its current form.
In a poster, the renewable heating supplier wrongly claimed that ‘oil heating will be outlawed by 2030’ and encouraged schools and colleges to switch to alternative systems ahead of the 2030 ‘deadline’. The ASA considered that consumers were likely to understand the claim, "Don’t forget it’s now Government policy that oil will be outlawed from estates by 2030" to be an objective statement that there was current government policy intended to prohibit the use of oil from estates by 2030. Because the ASA had not seen evidence that showed that the government intended to prohibit, as opposed to phase out, the use of oil from estates, they concluded this claim "had not been substantiated, was therefore misleading and breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).
Guy Pulham of the FPS, who challenged the claims together with OFTEC says: "We are delighted that the ASA has agreed with us that these claims could not be substantiated and that the poster must not appear again in its current form. The ASA has told the renewable heating supplier to remove the claim "Don't forget it's now Government policy that oil will be outlawed from estates by 2030" and not to suggest that oil would be prohibited by 2030.
"Promotional campaigns like this highlight the need for government to ensure consumers and businesses are not misled through the communication of a clear future pathway. OFTEC and FPS want to work with the Government to create a customer focused decarbonisation programme. We see liquid fuels (whether that is a bio or e-fuel) as part of renewable future energy, and we would like the renewables sector to recognise that the future will be a mix of technologies and fuels dependant on the infrastructure of the building and the financial restrictions of the consumer. Our door is always open to explore how this can be best achieved."
OFTEC CEO Paul Rose adds: "These misleading claims may have been a great cause of concern for many schools and led them to falsely believe they had to switch to an alternative heating system. This would have been completely unnecessary.
"Liquid fuels are very much part of the future energy mix and we welcome this ruling from the ASA as it demonstrates the importance of ensuring schools and other organisations are given accurate information, so they make informed decisions."