A bus company in my town are misleadingly labelling their new hybrid buses as zero emission and electric when they are in fact 100% diesel powered and have normal levels of emissions. As an asthmatic who suffers serious negative health effects from exposure to air pollution I feel the bus company has a duty to label them correctly. I would like to force the bus company to change the signs, what law does this come under? Also, I am not a customer of the bus company but someone who is affected negatively by the emissions.

(I contacted Advertising Standards but it is not relevent as the advertising is on the product itself)

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    You don't really need to know what law this falls under, you need to find a lawyer willing to write a demand letter (and will cite the appropriate law).
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 12:07
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    Thank you, I would like to, in the first instance, write a letter to the company and quote the appropriate law if that is possible and then afterwards find someone who will represent me
    – atreeon
    Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 13:07
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    Agreeing, a lawyer will write a much much better letter. Plus charge the bus company for it :-)
    – gnasher729
    Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 16:00
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    Note that the company might have bought woods that eat the same amount of emissions that its busses make, making the company - as a whole - emission free. It's how DHL does its CO2-free transport calculation
    – Trish
    Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 16:42
  • @Trish the bus is not emission free, not CO2, NO2, PM, CO etc. However, it does have an emission free mode which kicks in during a one mile stretch of road however, those emissions are pushed out onto the surrounding streets which were always polluted anyway. Basically, it is not an electric bus, it is a non plug in hybrid diesel bus with all the same emissions as any other diesel vehicle
    – atreeon
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 17:31

2 Answers 2


Here is a web page detailing some guidance from the UK Government regarding making green claims on products.


6.1 Trading Standards

Use Trading Standards for advice on how to deal with complaints.

Enforces consumer protection legislation and can advise you on how to deal with complaints. Phone the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506 or find your local Trading Standards office.

In Northern Ireland the enforcement body is the Trading Standards Service of the Department for the Economy.

  1. Relevant legislation

Before making green claims, you should check if the law requires you to state or publish environmental information about your product. You should check the following legislation:

EU Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD)
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs)
The Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs)
The Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002

The problem is you don't really have much standing in this case. To have any kind of legal claim against them or to force them to change behaviour you need to show some kind of loss.

Other bus companies may be suffering a loss as passengers switch to fake "zero emission" transport.

If you used such a bus because of the zero emission claim you might be able to claim a refund of the ticket cost, assuming you would not have done so if you had known the truth. You could also try to claim that the emissions affect your health but such cases rarely succeed in the UK because it's almost impossible to prove a causal link. There is so much pollution and no way to know where particular pollution came from.

You could complain to Trading Standards. You could complain to whoever has responsibility for regulating busses in your area, usually the council. You could write to your MP and local councillors about it. But legally you have few options as an individual.

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