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Friends of the Earth complains to ASA over diesel pollution filter ads

news release

Adverts promoting the dodgy practice of removing pollution filters from diesel vehicles should be banned, says Friends of the Earth as it writes to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) [1].

Although the practice of removing ‘diesel particulate filter’ (DPF) devices from diesel cars appears legal, it leaves cars illegal to drive.

Adverts for garages offering this service are widely hosted online.

The advertising code of practice sets out principles stating that marketing communications should be “legal, decent, honest and truthful” [2]. These ‘DPF removal’ adverts, in failing to mention that the service they offer leaves consumers with a law-breaking vehicle, are clearly in breach of this standard.

Friends of the Earth is also calling on the Government to outlaw the removal of ‘diesel particulate filter’ devices.

Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, Oliver Hayes, said:

“Air pollution is a public health crisis of breath-taking proportions. The dodgy practice of removing pollution filters from cars is not only risking people’s health, but also putting drivers at risk of prosecution for the simple fact that it’s illegal to drive a car with its DPF removed.

“We’re asking the ASA to clamp down on those advertising these dubious practices and help prevent more deadly pollution hitting our children’s lungs. But we’re also calling on the Government to make it illegal to remove these pollution filters in the first place. Unless they do, the absurd loophole remains whereby unscrupulous garages can remove a pollution filter but it’s only the driver, once they’ve turned the engine on, who is breaking the law.

“It’s more urgent than ever that we deal with all the dirty diesel vehicles on our roads, whether or not they have a DPF filter. Diesel owners should be offered a generous scrappage scheme so they can switch to cleaner, greener vehicles. The recent Department for Transport report revealed that, unbeknownst to many, most diesel owners are driving cars which emit many times over the legal limit of deadly nitrogen oxides.”

ENDS

Notes to editors.

1. Friends of the Earth’s ASA complaint was reported in today’s Guardian.

2. Friends of the Earth believes adverts on the removal of diesel particulate filter’ devices from diesel cars are in breach of section 3.3 of the code, which says “marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information” – the material information in this case being that your car will be illegal once the procedure has been carried out – and section 4.4 of the code, which states “marketing communications must contain nothing that is likely to condone or encourage violence or anti-social behaviour”.

For press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

Published by Friends of the Earth Trust

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