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Confidential FINAL ADJUDICATION STOP Swinford Wind Farm Action Group Case number: A08-59051 Copperfield Media: Magazine, Leaflet Rugby Road Sector: Non-commercial Swinford Leicestershire LE17 6BW Number of complaints: 1 Ad Two newsletters and a magazine ad, by STOP Swinford Wind Farm Action Group (SSWFAG) in opposition to a proposed wind farm development. a. The first newsletter stated "... How Swinford Wind Farm will affect YOU ... YOUR HEALTH IS AT RISK Think this is just gossip? Then read of the problems from Cumbria, down through North Wales to Cornwall Particularly for sufferers of asthma and or epilepsy See leaflet 'Health impact' NOISE - LOTS OF IT All the time the turbines are turning No escape from it Worse at night - Doesn't just seem worse - it really is Don't believe this? See the scientific reports on 'Noise problems' leaflet VISUAL OPPRESSION Turbines will dominate the skyline. Visible to 1/3 of the 'control area' - 'Control area' is 1,091 square MILES VIBRATION - MORE THAN CLAIMED Ground borne 85.5 beats per minute - from each of 11 turbines Can be measured up to 18 km away. Still present in low wind conditions. Don't believe this? See the extracts from scientific reports in our leaflet "Vibrations from Wind Farms" DROP IN HOME VALUE/SALEABILITY If your home is worth £150,000 it could drop by £30,000 £200,000 it could drop by £40,000 ... £500,000 it could drop by £100,000 Is this just rumour? Scaremongering? NO - it is based on cases in court, and awards made by a judge For more details see web site ... Estate Agents have had to write to many people selling their homes, reporting that buyers pulled out when they discovered plans for nearby wind farms. The homes remain unsold Swinford Wind Farm - what YOU can do about it ... Make financial contribution - How much would you pay ... To avoid the school environment being compromised (yes, the school will be one of the most affected) ...". b. The second newsletter had similar claims except the claim "YOUR HEALTH MAYBE AT RISK" replaced "YOUR HEALTH IS AT RISK" and the claim "Can be measured up to 11 miles away" replaced the claim "Can be measured up to 18 km away". The newsletter also included a photograph of an apparently operational wind turbine near some houses; text underneath stated "This turbine is 15 metres LOWER than the Swinford Turbines". c. The magazine ad stated "STOP Swinford Wind Farm ... All Villages & Towns within a 5 mile radius from the Wind Farm will be blighted ..." and went on to list a number of place names. Text continued "YOUR HEALTH MAYBE AT RISK NOISE - LOTS OF IT ... VISUAL OPPRESSION VIBRATION - MORE THAN CLAIMED DROP IN HOME VALUE/SALEABILITY ...". Issue Nuon Renewables challenged: 1. the basis of the claim "YOUR HEALTH IS AT RISK Think this is just gossip? Then read of the problems from Cumbria, down through North Wales to Cornwall Particularly for sufferers of asthma and or epilepsy"; 2. the basis of the claim "NOISE - LOTS OF IT" in ads (a), (b) and (c) and the scientific reports referred to; 3. whether ads (a) and (b) made clear what the 'control area' was; 2 4. whether the claim "85.5 beats per minute - from each of 11 turbines" in ads (a) and (b) could be substantiated; 5. whether the claim "Can be measured up to 18 km/11 miles away" in ads (a) and (b) could be substantiated; 6. whether the house price reductions could be substantiated; 7. whether the claims "... based on cases in court, and awards made by a judge" and "Estate Agents have had to write to many people selling their homes, reporting that buyers pulled out when they discovered plans for nearby wind farms. The homes remain unsold ..." in ads (a) and (b) could be substantiated; 8. whether the claim "avoid the school environment being compromised (yes, the school will be one of the most affected)" in ad (a) could be substantiated; 9. whether the photograph in ad (b) gave a misleading impression of the proposed turbines at Swinford and 10. the basis of the claim "All Villages & Towns within a 5 mile radius from the Wind Farm will be blighted ....". Response 1. SSWFAG argued that the use of the word "risk" did not mean or imply certainty. They believed introducing suspected causative factors into a community did introduce risk. They said their initial concern came from a 2004 national newspaper report about health problems for people living near wind farms. They also referred to a 2006 report by an American doctor which claimed a number of people living near wind turbines had suffered health problems. SSWFAG said the basis for their reference to epilepsy came from a paper by Graham Harding, Pamela Harding and Arnold Wilkins and the reference to asthma came from the experience related by a member of the public, David Brierley, in a presentation in which he stated "My wife is an asthmatic and has experienced, on several occasions, whilst suffering an attack, similar symptoms, whereby her breathing wanted to keep "in synch" with the beat from the turbines. We both find this an extremely distressing situation". They also referred to two other American reports, one of which stated "Intense low-frequency noise appears to produce clear symptoms including respiratory impairment and aural pain" and the other, entitled "Review of published research on Low Frequency Noise and its Effects" stated "The most prominent effect was a chest resonance, occurring in the range from about 30Hz to 80Hz, depending on stature and gender, but mostly near the centre region of this range". SSWFAG argued that, since respiratory impairment and chest resonance would both be problems for asthmatics, their claim of risk to health was justified. SSWFAG also referred to a number of abstracts about the effects of low frequency noise in general on people's health and sent an abstract of a study referring to Vibroacoustic disease (VAD) caused by wind turbine noise. 2. SSWFAG said the initial basis for the claim was the personal experience of their Chairman who had been aware of an unusual noise while living in Burnley between 1997 and 1998. The SSWFAG Chairman had found that the noise was coming from wind turbines three miles from his home. SSWFAG said they undertook further research when they learnt of the proposed wind turbines at Swinford. They had anecdotal reports of people living near wind farms suffering noise problems they attributed to the operation of the turbines; they argued that there were too many of those reports for them to be ignored or dismissed. SSWFAG also referred to a Dutch study entitled "Effects of the wind profile at night on wind turbine sound" published in the Journal of Sound and Vibration. They pointed out that the paper stated " … However, on quiet nights the wind park can be heard at distances of up to several kilometres when 3 the turbines rotate at high speed. On these nights, certainly at distances between 500 and 1000m from the wind park, one can hear a low pitched thumping sound with a repetition rate of about once a second (coinciding with the frequency of blades passing a turbine mast), not unlike distant pile driving, superimposed on a constant broadband 'noisy' sound … At night the sound from the wind park contains repetitive pulses, unlike the sound in daytime". 3. SSWFAG said the claim 'Control Area' should have stated 'Study area'. They said it was a reference to Nuon's 'Environmental Statement' document which included the statement "… the turbine hubs could potentially be seen from 34% of the 30km radius study area" and "The LVIA for Lutterworth Windfarm will be based on a study area of 30 km radius centred on the site". SSWFAG said a 30 km radius was equal to 18.636 miles which meant a total area of 1091.1 miles. SSWFAG said it had not been their intention to mislead anyone, they were happy to set the record straight and had already changed their documents to reflect that the 'study area' was 1091 sq miles. 4 & 5. SSWFAG said they had used the term "beat" because it was a recognised colloquial term for a regular (or nearly regular) sound. They asserted that, in the case of wind turbines, the source of that sound was a compression wave as each rotor blade passed the support tower at the bottom of its sweep. They referred to a paper entitled "Do wind turbines produce significant low frequency sound levels?" which stated "The effect is confirmed by residents near wind turbines who mention the same common observation: often late in the afternoon or in the evening the turbine sound changes to a more 'clapping' or 'beating' sound, the rhythm in agreement with the blade passing frequency … This effect is readily audible when night falls: the blades start clapping or beating at the blade passing frequency". They also referred to a paper entitled "Microseismic and Infrasound monitoring of Low Frequency Noise and Vibrations from Windfarms" which stated "The presence of so many harmonics which are multiples of the blade passing frequency and the clear attenuation of signal amplitude with distance especially for the 7.5hHz component is a prima facie argument that the signals are being generated from the wind turbines … Blade passage frequency is the frequency at which the wind turbine blades pass a fixed point on the wind turbine rotor, typically assumed to be the wind turbine support tower. For a wind turbine operating at 30 rpm, with a three bladed rotor, this would equate to 90 blade passes a minute, or a blade passage frequency of 1.5 Hz." They also referred to a BWEA fact sheet which stated that most wind turbines had three rotor blades and that the blades rotated at 10 to 30 revolutions per minute (rpm) at a constant speed, but an increasing number of machines operated at a variable speed. SSWFAG argued that 85.5 beats per minute, with a three bladed rotor, equated to 28.5 rpm which was within the defined range. They said the planning application made clear there would be 11 turbines and they were unable to find any published image, or detail, of turbines of 2MW or more with less than three blades. They asserted that Nuon's proposal at Swinford was for 2.5MW (or 2,500KW) machines. SSWFAG referred to a report which stated that turbines rated at 660KW with 23.5m radius rotors had been detected with harmonic seismic signals up to 18.3km away. They asserted that Nuon's proposal at Swinford was for 2.5MW (or 2,500KW) machines with 45m radius rotors and therefore they had proved the clam that the turbines could be "be measured up to 18 km/11 miles away". 6. SSWFAG said their initial concern arose from a 2004 national newspaper report about the effects of wind farms on property prices. They referred to a survey conducted by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) which stated that 60% of the sample questioned suggested that wind farms decreased the value of residential properties where the development was within view; 67% of the sample indicated that the negative impact on property prices started when a planning application to erect a wind farm was made. The report also stated that a minority of surveyors with experience of residential sales affected by wind farm developments, indicated that there was no negative price impact. SSWFAG also referred to research published by RICS in March 2007 that SSWFAG asserted showed, of the properties included in the study, the nearer to the wind farm the property was, the greater the depreciation in value. They said a comparison of the mean value of property showed that the value of terraced and semi detached houses tended to be lower than a similar house type sited 4 further away from a wind farm in the case study locations. They said terraced houses sited within one mile of a wind farm were observed to be 54 per cent lower in value and semi detached houses within one mile of the nearest turbine were 35 per cent lower than similar houses at a distance of four miles. SSWFAG sent a link to copies of three letters between 1998 and 2002 from estate agents telling vendors that the existence of a wind farm or wind farm application near their property had led to someone withdrawing their offer; a fourth letter from an estate agent to a vendor said that the existence of a wind farm near a property could lead to problems when selling. 7. SSWFAG referred to a case that was detailed in the national press in 2004. The case referred to a ruling by a judge on a property that had been sold to a couple without their knowledge that a wind farm was proposed to be built nearby. The judge ruled that the property would have been worth £150,000, had there been no plans for a wind farm, and had the farm been in place at the time of purchase the property would have been worth £120,000. The couple had paid £132,500 and the judge ruled they were entitled to £12,500 in damages plus interest, bringing the total to £15,000. SSWFAG also referred to a Hansard report which confirmed that the "the proximity of an electricity generating wind turbine" was now recognised by government as a reason for a local council tax discount. They also referred again to the evidence they had mentioned in point six. 8. SSWFAG asserted that the Swinford Primary School building was 1,050 metres from the nearest proposed turbine and the school playing field was even closer. They said Nuon had identified 63 "key receptors" and that 52 of those were further from the turbines than the school was from 'turbine 3'. They asserted that the school was not mentioned in Nuon's assessment. SSWFAG said the school was populated with up to 100 people at any given time and therefore represented a higher concentration of people than the 11 "key receptors" that were closer to the turbines. SSWFAG asserted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had concluded that concentration and learning was detrimentally affected at noise levels of 30-35dB. They said a study from the Netherlands entitled "Effects of the wind profile at night on wind turbine sound" stated that wind speeds from 8 metres/second upwards (at a 10 metre reference height) produced sound power level of 101 db(A) upwards. They argued that, although the study was specifically aimed at night time phenomena, it was meteorologically unsound to assume that such wind speeds and noise levels would only occur at night. They said the 2004 report 'Do wind turbines produce significant low frequency sound levels?' by van den Berg stated "Although infrasound levels from large turbines at frequencies below 20 Hz are too low to be audible, they may cause structural elements of buildings to vibrate. The vibrations may produce higher frequency, audible sound. Windows are usually the most sensitive elements as they move relatively easy because of the low mass per area. Perceptible vibrations of windows may occur at frequencies from 1 to 10Hz when the incoming 1/3 octave band sound pressure level is at least app. 52 dB ; at higher or lower frequencies a higher level is needed to produce perceptible vibrations. As can be seen in figures 1 - 3 sound pressure levels above 60 dB at frequencies below 10 Hz occur close to a turbine as well as at 750 m distance and further. A window vibrating at the impinging frequency transmits this frequency to the indoor air. If this does not coincide with a room resonance, the sound will not be louder than outdoors. For rooms in dwellings with a greatest dimension of 10 m, resonance frequencies are higher than appr. 15 Hz and thus cannot coincide with relevant harmonics of fB, the blade passing frequency. However, a window pane itself may have a resonant frequency of, e.g., 40 Hz and a frequency of 10 Hz then may sustain a window pane resonance, thus transforming inaudible infrasound to audible higher frequencies". SSWFAG argued that, on the basis of distance; numbers of people affected; potential noise 'pressure' and the requirement for some measure of tranquility for a learning environment the claim was substantiated. 9. SSWFAG said the photograph was of part of an actual wind farm in South Lanarkshire and was not a photomontage or any other form of artificially contrived image. They said it was a duplicate of a digital negative taken on a Nikon D2X camera, with a Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3EX DG HSM lens of one of the 42 turbines at Blacklaw Wind Farm, which rose to a height of 110 metres to the tip of the 5 blades. They said the picture was taken from a distance of about 4/5ths of a mile from the village centre of Forth on the B7016 road looking NW. They argued that, because it was a photograph, not a photomontage, of an actual existing turbine it was a record of reality and could therefore not be misleading. They also pointed out that the text on the newsletter stated that the depicted turbine was 15 metres lower than those proposed for Swinford. They said, to their knowledge, no attempt had been made to modify, enhance or diminish any part of the image. SSWFAG also sent photographs of the anemometer at the proposed Swinford site, taken from one of the 63 "key receptors" affected by the application. They believed those photographs showed that viewing the turbines from that property would give a perspective very similar to that shown in the photograph. They said the top of the anemometer mast was 10 metres below the height of the proposed turbine towers, and the mast was more slender; the mast was less than 200mm in width, whilst the towers of the turbines were 4.5 metres wide at their mid-point. They said the towers were 80 metres high, 3.75 metres wide at the top and at least 5 metres wide at the base. They said the anemometer was closer to the viewpoint than the turbines were proposed to be; 490 metres for the anemometer compared to around 650 metres for the nearest turbine. They said the anemometer was at 75% of the distance to the nearest turbine but was only 56% of its height, and 5.33% of the width of the tower. 10. SSWFAG said the basis for the claim was mainly the Environmental Assessment provided by Nuon in support of their Planning Application. They said the reference to villages and towns "within 5 mile radius" was to acknowledge that many people in that vicinity were more comfortable with imperial distance units than metric; they pointed out that 5 miles was equal to 8 km. They said if that 8km radius was then applied to Nuon's document provided in support of their planning application 08/00506/FUL the villages in that radius would be in the area of visibility of the hub height. They argued that those properties would have the blades of the turbines appearing and disappearing from view; they would have moving images in their visibility. They said the Non Technical Summary stated "…. the assessment concluded that the operation of the wind farm would have significant effects upon the Laughton Hills LCA due to its relatively high sensitivity to change, although this assessment actually only applies to its south-western part …". SSWFAG said the villages and towns within a five mile radius of the proposed wind farm generally fell into the area defined as the Laughton Hills, with a defined Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) in the south western part. They said the area described in the ads was contained within the LCA of the proposed wind farm. They believed the LCA would suffer significant impact and change and that Nuon had admitted that in their published document. They believed the LCA was consequently at risk of its character being downgraded, to the detriment of its residents. Assessment 1. Upheld The ASA considered that the claims implied that many people living near the proposed wind farm site would be liable to suffer health problems if the wind farm was built, and in particular that epilepsy and asthma sufferers were likely to suffer. We noted SSWFAG had referred to a lot of anecdotal evidence about people suffering health problems after the construction of a wind farm. We also noted the paper by Graham Harding, Pamela Harding and Arnold Wilkins stated that "Flicker from turbines that interrupt or reflect sunlight at frequencies greater than 3Hz poses a potential risk of inducing photosensitive seizures" but considered that that was not sufficiently robust scientific evidence to demonstrate that there was a definite direct link between wind turbines and the potential for many people in the area to suffer health problems, in particular epilepsy and asthma sufferers. We noted the abstracts about the effects of low frequency noise on people's health in general but considered that, because they did not refer specifically to noise from wind farms, they were not sufficiently robust to support the implication that many people living near the proposed wind farm site would be liable to suffer health problems if the wind farm was built. We also noted the abstract of a study about VAD but considered that, because it did not include full methodology of the study, the abstract was not sufficiently robust evidence to support such a claim. We also noted the abstract was based on a sample size of only eight people and considered that that was too small a sample to provide robust substantiation. We noted the abstract did not refer to epilepsy or asthma. 6 We considered that we had seen no robust scientific evidence to demonstrate that there was a definite direct link between wind turbines and the potential for many people in the area to suffer health problems, in particular epilepsy and asthma sufferers. We concluded that the claim was misleading. On this point, the ads breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness). 2. Upheld We noted SSWFAG had referred to a number of studies which stated that wind turbines produced noise. We considered, however, that readers were likely to interpret the claim "NOISE - LOTS OF IT" to mean that the proposed wind turbines at Swinford would cause a high-level of noise that could be potentially damaging to those in the vicinity. We understood that it was commonly accepted that wind farms emitted noise but considered that the claim "LOTS OF IT" went further than that and implied a frequent, high-level of noise. We noted SSWFAG had sent evidence that wind farms would cause noise but considered that we had not seen evidence to show that that noise would be of a seriously high, potentially damaging level. We concluded that the claim was misleading. On this point, ads (a), (b) and (c) breached CAP clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness). 3. Upheld We noted SSWFAG had accepted that they had not defined the 'control area' sufficiently in their ad and that it was intended to refer to the 'study area' referred to by Nuon in their 'Environmental Statement' document. We welcomed SSWFAG's assurance that they would make clear what they were referring to in future. On this point, ads (a) and (b) breached CAP Code clause 7.1 (Truthfulness). 4 & 5. Upheld We considered that the ad implied that vibration from the wind turbines proposed for Swinford would be at 85.5 beats per minute and would be felt or heard by residents from a distance of up to 18km away. We noted the report referred to by SSWFAG cited another report that had measured harmonic seismic signals from a wind farm of 399 wind turbines up to 18.3km from the site. The report did not include the full methodology of those measurements or make clear whether those signals would be felt by the average human or were audible to the human ear. We understood that the number of wind turbines, and the difference in topography of different areas, would have an affect on the distance from which such signals could be heard. Moreover, we considered that the results of one report, on one wind farm with 399 turbines, was not sufficient to show that the 11 wind turbines proposed for Swinford would be felt or heard from a distance of 18km away. We noted the evidence sent by SSWFAG to support the claim about "beats" per minute and considered that it was possible that the blades on the turbines could pass the base 85.5 times a minute. However, we considered that the ad implied that those 'beats' would be heard from a distance of up to 18km away and, because we had seen no evidence to support that, we concluded the ad was misleading. On points 4 and 5, ads (a) and (b) breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness). 6. Upheld We considered that readers were likely to infer from the claims that properties in the vicinity of the proposed wind farm at Swinford would potentially go down in price by the amounts stated. We noted the RICS report referred to by SSWFAG stated "Among those respondents with experience in dealing with residential property transactions affected by wind farms, the survey results suggest that wind farm development reduces property values to some extent and that this impact starts at the planning application stage". We also noted, however, that the first RICS report made clear that not many surveyors had experience of properties affected by wind farms and the report did not refer to the level or amount of impact respondents had seen. We considered that the first RICS report did not therefore support the price reductions stated in the ad. We noted the second RICS report of March 2007 referred to by SSWFAG and the house price differences it referred were based on a limited sample. We also noted, however, that report went on to state "… when they started to talk to local estate agents, the situation became a bit less clear … The 7 view of the estate agents was that proximity to a wind farm simply was not an issue. What they did say, though, was that the properties close to one of the wind farms … were, in fact, ex-Ministry of Defence properties, and so less desirable than similar properties". We noted the report went on to conclude "… Because of the limited data available the findings require a degree of caution … Even this may not translate into lower house prices …The study itself may be seen as inconclusive as there was limited linear relationship between house prices and distance … Therefore, a cautious approach should be adopted until a larger and more in-depth study can be undertaken …". We noted those problems with the March 2007 RICS research and considered that it was not sufficiently robust evidence to support the property price reductions in the ad. We also noted the copies of letters sent by estate agents, but considered that they merely showed that three potential purchasers of properties had chosen not to purchase the property due to the existence, or proposed construction of, a wind farm; they made no mention of the level or amount of impact a wind farm had on property prices and were not sufficient to show that prices could drop by the amounts stated in the ad. We concluded that, because we had not seen robust documentary evidence to show that the properties in the vicinity of the proposed wind farm at Swinford would potentially go down in price by the amounts stated, the ad was misleading. On this point, ads (a) and (b) breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness). 7. Upheld We noted SSWFAG had referred to one case that had been to court and, in that case, a judge had awarded money to the purchaser of a property because the vendor had not made clear that there was an ongoing proposal for the construction of a wind farm. We also noted that the judge in that case had ruled that the value of the property would have been £150,000 if the wind farm had not been proposed at the time of purchase and £120,000 had it been built. W e considered, however, that the claim "... based on cases in court, and awards made by a judge" implied that there had been several court cases to support the price reductions. Because we had seen evidence of only one court case that referred to the potential difference in value of only one property, we considered that the claim was exaggerated and likely to mislead. We also considered that the claim "Estate Agents have had to write to many people selling their homes, reporting that buyers pulled out when they discovered plans for nearby wind farms. The homes remain unsold ..." implied that there had been a number of people written to about their properties and that the vendors had still not sold those properties at the time the ad appeared. We noted SSWFAG had referred to three letters sent to vendors between 1998 and 2002 informing them that potential purchasers had pulled out; we noted we had seen no evidence on whether those specific properties had since been sold. We considered that, because we had seen only three letters, and because we had seen no evidence to show that those properties had not been sold at the time the ad appeared, the claim was misleading. On this point, ads (a) and (b) breached CAP Code clause 7.1 (Truthfulness). 8. Upheld We considered that the claim "avoid the school environment being compromised (yes, the school will be one of the most affected)" implied that the school in Swinford would be badly affected by the proposed wind farm, with the ability of students and staff to learn and teach at risk, and that it would be more affected than other areas. We noted the WHO data referred to by SSWFAG was a guideline of 35db(A) for inside a classroom and that there was a potential for the disturbance of communication at levels greater than that; it did not state that concentration and learning was detrimentally affected at noise levels of 30 to 35 db. We noted the report SSWFAG referred to stated that wind speeds from 8 metres/second upwards (at 10 metre reference height) produced sound power level of 101 db(A) upwards at one wind farm site, but that it made no reference to the levels at lower wind speeds or heights lower than 10 metres. We understood that, generally, due to attenuation, the sound levels would be lower the further away from the wind farm. We also understood that the sound of the turbines would be masked by background noise, principally the sound of the wind itself. We concluded that, because we had not seen evidence to show that the school site at Swinford would be subject to detrimentally high sound levels that would affect the teacher's ability to teach or the student's ability to learn, the ad was misleading. 8 On this point, ad (a) breached CAP Code clause 7.1 (Truthfulness) 9. Upheld We noted the photograph was of an apparently operational wind turbine and that SSWFAG were unaware of any alteration to it. We noted text underneath the photograph stated "This turbine is 15 metres LOWER than the Swinford Turbines" and considered that the ad implied that, compared to local homes, the turbines at the proposed site would look similar to, or larger than, those in the photograph, and that the turbines would be in very close proximity to homes in the area. We considered that we had not seen evidence to verify that the photograph had not been altered to give an unrealistic impression of the size of the turbine in comparison to the houses. We noted the photographs sent by SSWFAG of the anemometer at the proposed site and that the anemometer was not similar in size or distance from the viewpoint to the proposed turbines. We considered that, because the photographs of the anemometer were also not similar in size of the turbine or of proximity to the homes as the turbine in the photograph of Blacklaw wind farm, they were therefore not sufficient to show that the turbines at the proposed site would look similar to, or larger than, those in the photograph, and that the turbines would be in very close proximity to homes in the area. We considered that we had seen no evidence to show that the turbine in the photograph was a similar distance from homes in the area as the proposed turbines in Swinford would be from homes. We concluded that the photograph exaggerated the likely visual impact of the proposed wind turbines at Swinford. On this point, ad (b) breached CAP Code clause 7.1 (Truthfulness). 10. Upheld We noted SSWFAG had based the claim on the reports submitted by Nuon and that homes in a five mile radius could have sight of part of the wind turbines. We considered, however, that readers were likely to interpret the claim "All Villages & Towns within a 5 mile radius from the Wind Farm will be blighted ...." to mean that the wind farm would affect all people within five miles of the site and that those people's quality of life would be affected, particularly on those aspects mentioned in the leaflet: their health, their property, their views of the area and high noise levels. We considered that we had not seen robust evidence to show that all people within a five mile radius would be affected on all those issues and concluded that the claim was therefore misleading. On this point, ad (c) breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness). Action The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told SSWFAG to ensure they held robust substantiation to support all claims capable of objective substantiation and advised them to seek advice from the CAP Copy Advice team before advertising in future.
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