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Tyre Extinguishers target SUVs on home turf of the ‘Chelsea Tractor’

Campaign to have 4x4s banned from cities undertakes latest direct action in London’s affluent Cheyne Walk

Tyre Extinguishers, the direct action group calling for SUVs to be banned from cities, have struck again, targeting 30 vehicles in London’s upscale Cheyne Walk area in the district of the capital that gave 4x4s their ‘Chelsea Tractor’ nickname.

Members of the group, whom we spoke to last month for an episode of the road.cc Podcast, use dried lentils to deflate tyres of the vehicles to draw attention to their campaign.

They cite research which has found that the collective global emissions produced by SUVs would see the vehicles outranked by only five countries around the world in terms of the pollution they produce.

The group has also highlighted that within the UK, more Range Rovers are registered in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea than in any other local authority area, accounting for one in 10 cars there., and thatn across the country as a whole, three in four SUVs are registered to addresses in towns and cities.

Tyre Extinguishers spokesperson Marion Walker said: “These people live in the dead centre of London with access to copious amounts of public transport. There is no need to own a massive polluting SUV here.”

The group, which has no centralised structure and is active around the world, encourages people to get involved with its campaign by undertaking their own direct actions and leaving a leaflet that can be downloaded from their website to explain to owners of the vehicles why their tyres have been deflated and highlight the effect of SUVs on the planet.

It adds that SUVs are specifically targeted because:

• SUVs are a climate disaster

• SUVs cause air pollution

• SUVs are dangerous

• SUVs are unnecessary.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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123 comments

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Hirsute replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
1 like

I didn't mention any makes or models and I was responding to someone who used the term 4x4 and mentioned their Tesla
All I mentioned was total cost of ownership.

I made no comments on the rights or wrongs of the group.

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Rendel Harris replied to walkopher | 1 year ago
12 likes

walkopher wrote:

 and yes also bicycles - these things require space

Just for interest, here's a snap from the days before we gave up having a car: my road bike and my wife's in the boot of our Smart ForTwo. It takes a little more effort and imagination; it doesn't take an SUV.

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walkopher replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
1 like

Where do the children go? Or have you had to fold down all the seats to get sufficient storage?

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Rendel Harris replied to walkopher | 1 year ago
5 likes

walkopher wrote:

Where do the children go? Or have you had to fold down all the seats to get sufficient storage?

That was a two seater car. However we later had a Smart ForFour which could still take two bikes in the boot and three kids in the back, or even three adults at a squeeze, and if luggage room was required we had an external rack for the bikes. "I need an SUV to carry XYZ" is a pretty lame excuse.

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walkopher replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
0 likes

Car seat rules changed in 2018 (four years after the ForFour was introduced) and so they became much less practical once you factor in booster seats being banned for children under 1.25m. Not to mention what if you have a pram with basonette etc.

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Rendel Harris replied to walkopher | 1 year ago
7 likes

You're going to put your back out if you keep on moving the goalposts so often, you know.

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chrisonabike replied to walkopher | 1 year ago
4 likes

Roof rack.

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OldRidgeback replied to walkopher | 1 year ago
9 likes

A typical estate car has more storage space than a typical SUV of similar exterior length and width. This is because SUVs have raised floorpans to account for the 4x4 transmission. Most SUVs aren't actually that roomy inside in comparison with other vehicles of the same width and length.

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walkopher replied to OldRidgeback | 1 year ago
0 likes

That may be the case, but then the argument is against cross-overs rather than SUVs. A Range Rover has 900l luggage space vs an Audi A6 Avant which has 586l.

Alternatively in 5 seat configuration (the same number of seats as the Audi) a Land Rover Discovery has 1,137 litres of storage and the option of reducing that but carrying 6 or 7 people (in some cases that's the difference between needing 1 car or 2 cars for a journey).

Again, this is for quite a specific set of buyers and specific set of use cases though.

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OldRidgeback replied to walkopher | 1 year ago
9 likes

How often do you really need to be able to carry 7 people? Wouldn't it be more sensible to ahve a smaller vehicle and then rent a larger one when required? 

SUVs also have a poor crash record. Because they're higher, they're far more dangerous for pedestrians. The raised floorpan means they have a higher centre of gravity and are therefore more likely to roll. Porsche had to throw a whole of of costly and complex technology at its SUVs to make sure they didn't suffer from rollovers. They often perform very poorly in crash testing also when compared to conventional cars. The perception they give of safety and protection for the owners often isn't justified.

I don't condone slashing tyres, far from it. But at the same time, i think anyone who owns an SUV and doesn't actually need one is selfish. And that'd apply to around 90% of SUV owners most likely.

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HarrogateSpa replied to walkopher | 1 year ago
5 likes

Discos can carry 7 people, and that's your best argument? But in reality they carry one person, occasionally two, to buy a pint of milk from the local shop.

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iandusud replied to OldRidgeback | 1 year ago
7 likes

OldRidgeback wrote:

A typical estate car has more storage space than a typical SUV of similar exterior length and width. This is because SUVs have raised floorpans to account for the 4x4 transmission. Most SUVs aren't actually that roomy inside in comparison with other vehicles of the same width and length.

Before I got rid of it to go car-less our Mondeo estate was cavernous and did 50mpg. A much more practical car than any SUV unless of course you're driving over a ploughed field (which I'm sure they all do on a regular basis). 

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OldRidgeback replied to iandusud | 1 year ago
3 likes

iandusud wrote:

OldRidgeback wrote:

A typical estate car has more storage space than a typical SUV of similar exterior length and width. This is because SUVs have raised floorpans to account for the 4x4 transmission. Most SUVs aren't actually that roomy inside in comparison with other vehicles of the same width and length.

Before I got rid of it to go car-less our Mondeo estate was cavernous and did 50mpg. A much more practical car than any SUV unless of course you're driving over a ploughed field (which I'm sure they all do on a regular basis). 

Exactly this....

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Gd29 | 1 year ago
4 likes

The type of campaign contributes to the successful dissipation of the desire for change to blaming and aggravating individuals over the abstract systems, corporations and values that enable pollution, waste and excess.

TL;DR - Don't hate the player, hate the game.

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Safety | 1 year ago
6 likes

Much as I agree with the need to curb SUVs and other gas guzzlers I can't condone the law breaking approach. It would be hypocritical to do so while bemoaning the criminals damaging bollards in LTNs.

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Xenophon2 | 1 year ago
7 likes

Damaging someone else's property is called vandalism and there is no justification.  If everyone starts becoming the enforcer of their own opinions society will quickly resemble the far west.  

It's up to elected officials to make legislation and decide what is and what's not allowed, not to private interest groups, no matter how well intended.

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nniff replied to Xenophon2 | 1 year ago
5 likes

Xenophon2 wrote:

Damaging someone else's property is called vandalism and there is no justification.  If everyone starts becoming the enforcer of their own opinions society will quickly resemble the far west.  

It's up to elected officials to make legislation and decide what is and what's not allowed, not to private interest groups, no matter how well intended.

I'm not sure that putting a lentil in someone's valve cap and tightening the cap back up counts as criminal damage or vandalism.  It is however a massive PITA for the person with one of more flat tyres.  Good exercise with a footpump (or a track pump) especially an SUV tyre.  

'Going equipped' with noting more than a thimbleful of lentils would be hard to prove  1 

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brianlescargot replied to nniff | 1 year ago
4 likes

Having dealt with such incidents, then yes the perpetrators could be charge with vandalism or causing criminal damage. 

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brooksby replied to Xenophon2 | 1 year ago
4 likes

Xenophon2 wrote:

Damaging someone else's property is called vandalism and there is no justification.

Can anyone else hear that in Johnny Depp's voice from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory...?  3

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james-o replied to Xenophon2 | 1 year ago
6 likes

Let's trust the government to look out for our best interests! We'll be fine! No need for protest, they may as well outlaw it! 

 

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Rich_cb replied to james-o | 1 year ago
3 likes

Nothing wrong with peaceful protest.

Vandalism/criminal damage is not peaceful protest.

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james-o replied to Rich_cb | 1 year ago
4 likes

But it can be protest, right? Peaceful protest often gets nowhere. Protest should have an effect. 

Peaceful, fully authorised and permitted protest being the only acceptable way to do it is just how big corporations and the government would like you to think. We shouldn't be so naive to think that's right.

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Rich_cb replied to james-o | 1 year ago
2 likes

Violence against law abiding fellow citizens is ok as long as the ends justify the means?

Sounds like a delightful society.

Can't wait to get shanked by a militant vegan as I'm picking up a pint of milk.

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james-o replied to Rich_cb | 1 year ago
3 likes

Well there's an example of taking a general point and running with it to an extreme illogical end : ) How can I argue against such a well-honed point (I mean your post, not the shank)?

My point is simply that thinking that a protest is invalid because it steps outside the law is to play right into the hands of those who benefit from limiting protest. A person or organisation could be law-abiding while causing a lot of harm to others who have no legal recourse. People in that situation tend to get angry and look for ways to be heard or force change. Remember that the further up the power chain you go, the better access people and companies have to both the law and the law-makers (this is beyond a few lentils in valve caps but the principle is an imortant one imo). 

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Rich_cb replied to james-o | 1 year ago
1 like

It's not an illogical end. It's actually the logical conclusion.

If violent protest is acceptable then harm to law abiding people is inevitable and therefore also acceptable.

I'm not sure that's a can of (non vegan) worms that we should be opening.

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chrisonabike replied to Rich_cb | 1 year ago
0 likes

"Illogical, captain".

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james-o replied to Rich_cb | 1 year ago
1 like

Its not a can of worms, it's a straw man.

 

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Rich_cb replied to james-o | 1 year ago
0 likes

If you think it's justified to break the law because you don't like another person's entirely legal activities then the onus is on you to define what illegal activities are and are not acceptable when faced with such a situation.

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chrisonabike replied to Rich_cb | 1 year ago
0 likes

Exactly.  Luckily our government has foreseen exactly this need.  If you were wanting a model you could look at existing legislation found here.  Of course I'm horsing about - individuals can't make rules and we certainly can't break the law because of others' entirely legal activities we don't like.  So this definitely didn't happen (enquiry here).

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HarrogateSpa replied to Xenophon2 | 1 year ago
7 likes

The problem is that elected officials are acting so slowly, or not at all, that we're heading for disaster.

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