The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has adjudicated in two recent cases involving publicity material produced by the local council and a lobbying group, relating to the introduction of 20mph limits in Brighton.
In the first case, the ASA was asked to look at a leaflet produced by Brighton & Hove Council as part of a consultation on 20mph limits. In the second, it was asked to adjudicate on a press advertisement published by a lobbying group called ‘Unchain the Brighton Motorist’.
The leaflet was brought to the ASA’s attention by ‘Unchain the Brighton Motorist’ which describes itself as a ‘group formed by local businesses concerned about the impact of transport policy on businesses in Brighton & Hove’.
Unchain the Brighton Motorist said that six specific claims in the leaflet were misleading and could not be substantiated.
In its defence, Brighton & Hove Council provided evidence to show that 55% of respondents supported the 20 mph proposals, rising to 56.5% among respondents who were identified as residents. The council also produced data from 20 mph trials in Warrington, Portsmouth, Bristol, Oxford, Edinburgh, Gateshead and Newcastle upon Tyne as well as European cities outside the UK.
In its findings, the ASA rejected three of the challenges and upheld the other three.
It did not uphold the challenges relating to: a clear majority of residents favouring a 20mph limit; that 20mph limits lead to a reduction in collisions and casualties; and that the lower limit improves the quality of life in local neighbourhoods.
However, it did uphold the challenges relating to 20mph encouraging more walking and cycling, delivering health benefits and reducing congestion.
In its summary the ASA said: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Brighton & Hove City Council to ensure future ads did not make specific claims about the benefits of the scheme unless they held evidence to support them.”
Speaking to the local media, councillor Ian Davey, lead member for transport, said: “The ASA adjudication clearly states there is evidence that 20mph limits reduce the number of casualties and collisions on our roads.
“With the number of collisions and casualties going down across the city for three consecutive years, particularly on roads with 20mph limits, speed limit reductions are clearly saving lives here in Brighton and Hove.”
The second case related to a press advertisement placed by Unchain the Brighton Motorists which claimed that in 2013 casualties had risen by more than 20% on roads with 20mph limits.
This claim was challenged by Brighton & Hove City Council on the basis that the advertisement did not make it clear that there was an increase in the number of roads with a 20mph limit during 2013.
The ASA upheld the complaint and told Unchain the Brighton Motorist that the ad must not appear again in its current form.
The ASA said: “We told Unchain the Brighton Motorist to ensure they did not make claims, including implied claims, about the relationship between speed limits and casualties in future if they were not in a position to substantiate them.”