FoE in clash over TV advert

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Friends of the Earth has clashed with the Independent Television Commission over an advertisement for the visitors centre at the nuclear waste processing site at Sellafield in Cumbria. The environmental pressure group is angry that the watchdog has rejected complaints from it and 19 viewers about an advert that appeared to show nuclear waste processing is a safe activity.

The advert, by British Nuclear Fuels, showed a match being burnt over and over along with a voice-over which claimed: "What kind of science can take a fuel, burn it and turn the ashes back into fuel to burn again? A fuel formed in the hearts of giant stars ... Of the 3 per cent that's left over as waste, most is cased in concrete and steel. Or turned into glass."

Friends of the Earth and the viewers objected that by referring to waste being turned into glass, steel or concrete the advert was referring to the politically contentious subject of dealing with nuclear waste.

Under rule 10 of the ITC's advertising code TV commercials deemed politically partial are banned. It this clause which bans Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth from advertising on television.