In this weeks Westmorland Gazette>>>
by Giles Brown
AN anti-nuclear campaigner is demanding an energy company print a series of corrections in the Cumbrian press after incorrectly “bigging up” the benefits of a proposed power station.
In April NuGen published an advertorial in all Cumbrian newspapers which said its proposed nuclear power station at Moorside, near Sellafield, would produce “seven per cent of the UK’s energy requirement”.
However, Marianne Birkby, of Radiation Free Lakeland contacted the Advertising Standards Authority pointing out this was incorrect and in fact it would produce only two per cent of the UK’s future energy demand.
The ASA sent a letter to Mrs Birkby earlier this month saying: “Nugen have assured us that the ad has been withdrawn and that they will not repeat the claim … in their future advertising. We consider that this will resolve the complaint without referring the matter to the ASA Council and will consequently be closing our file.”
A 10-week public consultation regarding plans for the Moorside power station ended on July 24.
Mrs Birkby has written to Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron asking him to question Amber Rudd, secretary of state for Energy and Climate Change, about whether NuGen should put an “equally prominent” piece in the Cumbrian press apologising for the error.
“The whole thing is about bigging up the plan for Moorside and making it seem as though it is absolutely fantastic and that is a big deal when this is a consultation of national and international importance,” she said.
“At the very least there should be a one line paragraph somewhere in the newspapers as it was a double page advertorial and there should really be an equally big section given over to the paper for an apology.”
A spokesman for NuGen said although Moorside would produce enough power to cover seven per cent of the UK’s electricity needs, it would only cover two per cent of its total energy needs.
There had been a “mistake” confusing this information in its Statement of Community Consultation.
He said: “When the error was spotted, NuGen acted promptly to re-print and re-issue the Statement of Community Consultation, and acknowledged the error in its next round of advertising.
“NuGen was contacted by the ASA about the issue and was happy to confirm to the ASA that the misprint would not be repeated. The ASA has subsequently advised that it is satisfied with the response.”
A spokesman for Mr Farron said his office would pass Mrs Birkby’s concerns onto the secretary of state.
Mr Farron said: “Trust is an important issue in this debate. The claims made by either side must be accurate and truthful.”
NOTE: Tim Farron MP is right to say “the claims made by either side must be accurate and truthful” but this is not a level playing field with an equal platform for both parties. One side has already (according to NuGen) spent hundreds of £millions on PR to promote new nuclear build in Cumbria. While the other…..