Motorists have hit out at climate activists after dozens of 4x4s in a south Manchester suburb had their tires deflated overnight.
Climate activists from a group calling itself the ‘Tyre Extinguishers’ targeted vehicles on streets around Burton Road in Didsbury on Tuesday night (March 22). One of the affected cars was an electric car parked on Beaufort Avenue.
The owner, who asked not to be named, described the group’s actions as “dangerous and irresponsible”. “It’s not just an inconvenience,” he said. “My wife’s pregnant and I need to get her a hospital at some point.
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“If I can’t do that because my car tires have been let down, I’ve got to call an ambulance which takes that off the road for somebody else, which is frankly dangerous and irresponsible.
“I bought that because it’s fully electric, but I have two kids so I need a big car. I use [the car] less than once a week, I cycle into work everyday, I have an entirely meat-free diet, I recycle everything. I care, I am conscious about what I do.
“It’s a fully electric vehicle so I’m not sure what else I could do. I’ll reinflate the tire and we’ll see what happens next. It seems misplaced at best, frankly irresponsible at worst.
“You don’t know if that person is disabled, you don’t know if they’ve got a child that needs to go to the hospital in the morning. You don’t know anything about that person that you’ve done that too.
“Why don’t you just engage with them directly and have a chat with it?”
A note left on the windscreen of another vehicle read: “We have deflated one of 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.”
In the letter, the group branded SUVs and 4x4s “a disaster for our climate” and said it was “taking action into their own hands because our governments and politicians will not”.
Ben Cruse, who lives in West Didsbury, woke up to find such a note on his car although his tires had not been deflated.
He said he had since looked the group up online, but intended to continue using his SUV.
“It’s almost a little contradictory,” he said. “Especially if they’re getting electric cars. People aren’t going to stop using their cars are they?
“You can definitely push for greener cars, but to take cars off the road all together, which is what they’re aiming for, it just isn’t going to happen.
“It’s not going to stop me using my car, it’s just more of an annoyance. It’s not going to stop me using an SUV, it’s just an absolute irritant over anything else.
“People are going to look negatively on these people rather than support them.
“Luckily, my tires weren’t put down, but the car out there got a couple of flat tyres. They don’t even know who’s that car is. It could have been some little old lady. They have no idea who it belongs to.” unto
“People have families, you know, young families. People do need big cars for transporting kids around. It’s not just for show. I just think it’s ridiculous.”
The Tire Extinguishers group says it is leading a new movement across the country encouraging people to take action against SUV vehicles in built-up areas.
Hundreds of vehicles in affluent parts of London, Bristol, Cambridge, Liverpool and Brighton have already failed foul of the group’s actions.
The group says it is operating under the aim to make it impossible to own an SUV in the UK’s urban areas, claiming they are unnecessary “luxury emissions” that contribute to air pollution and pose a danger on roads.
Greater Manchester Police has been approached for comment on whether it is investigating the group’s actions.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.