Last night, small teams of activists across Bristol deflated the tyres of some of the most polluting vehicles on the city’s streets.
Activists deflated the tyres of SUVs and 4x4s, reportedly in areas of Clifton and Redland, leaving flyers on the windscreens of targeted cars informing the owners of what had happened and why.
The flyer began by saying:
“We have deflated one or more of your tyres.
“You’ll be angry, but don’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s your car.
“We did this because driving around urban areas in your massive vehicle has huge consequences for others. Car companies try to convince us we need massive cars. But SUVs and 4x4s are a disaster for our climate. SUVs are the second-largest cause of the global rise in carbon dioxide emissions over the past decade – more than the entire aviation industry.”
The action (Monday, March 7) was matched in towns and cities across the UK – including London, Brighton and Cambridge – under the coordination of Tyre Extinguishers, a decentralized group with the stated aim of making it impossible to own a 4×4 in the world’s urban areas.
On their website, Tyre Extinguishers explain that they target SUVs and 4×4 because they contribute to air pollution and climate emissions, adding that if SUV drivers were a country, they would be the seventh-largest polluting country in the world.
They also target SUVs and 4x4s because they are dangerous, being more likely than normal cars to be involved in a collision with a pedestrian, and as “off-road” vehicles they are unnecessary in an urban environment, often owned by the wealthy as a “status symbol”.
Tyre Extinguishers want to see a government ban on SUVs in urban areas, pollution levies to tax SUVs out of existence, and investment in free, comprehensive public transport.
Marion Walker, of Tyre Extinguishers, said: ‘Governments and politicians have failed to protect us from these massive unnecessary vehicles. SUVs are a climate disaster, they cause air pollution and are dangerous for other road users. Everyone hates them, apart from the people who drive them.
‘Politely asking for climate action, clean air and safer streets has failed. It’s time for action.’
Last week, a similar action by a group called Last Gasp was carried out in some of the wealthiest areas of London including Kensington and Chelsea, Dulwich and Primrose Hill.