The Alliance Against Urban 4x4s in the news
The Alliance Against Urban 4x4s is changing! Our new venture - We are Futureproof - will push for better transport and much more. See our new website for the latest:
See our blog for regular updates and news on our progress towards achieving our mission.
Download and watch a short film about the Alliance, showing our November 2004 picket of Landrover, at Green TV (choose 'air').
See Greenpeace's film asking 4x4 drivers 'what does your car say about you?'
The Alliance is joining the international Mundo Cars campaign to urge MEPs and MPs to come to the aid of struggling motorists by pushing for much more fuel-efficient cars.
In the EU, the car industry is lobbying to block regulations that would make vehicles significantly less costly to run, having failed in recent years to reduce emissions according to their voluntarily agreed targets.
In London, Brussels, Berlin, Paris and Madrid, campaigners launched the campaign by pushing a white-covered 'Mundo' car together with local MEPs who support the push for a target of 120g of CO2 / km by 2012.
June 2008 : Boris plans to cancel CO2 Charge
Boris Johnson, London's new Mayor, has said he will cancel the new CO2 Charge, intended to deter the worse gas-guzzlers from central London and provide incentives for cleaner cars.
The money raised was going to provide London's cycling budget for the next ten years.
What will Boris do to save the cycling budget, improve road safety and reduce air pollution in the city? His manifesto wasn't very helpful, but now he's been elected we want some answers.
22 February 2008: Stand up to Porsche!
On 20 February 2008, German luxury car manufacturer Porsche announced they were planning to take legal action against the new emissions-based Congestion Charge.
Porsche revved up by Livingstone's 'unjust' increase Independent 20/02/08
12 February 2008: CO2 Charge confirmed for London
After years of campaigning one of our founding aims is going to happen.
Emissions-based Congestion Charging in London will begin on 27 October 2008.
Under the new scheme, cars emitting more than 225 g/km of carbon dioxide will pay £25 per day to enter the Congestion Charge zone, while cars emitting less than 120 g/km will receive a 100% discount.
The Alliance was at the press conference in City Hall, where the Mayor of London announced the scheme would go ahead after a three-month public consultation, and expressed his thanks at the part the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s played in raising public awareness of the problems caused by 4x4s and the need for this measure.
19 June 2007: Results of pedestrian safety survey presented to 4x4 drivers on the school run
Members of the Alliance dressed as crash test dummies and scientists took to the streets of Highgate in North London to present the results of our survey to 4x4 drivers.
We counted the 4x4s on the school run in the area and found that the most commonly used gas-guzzlers were also the ones with the lowest pedestrian safety ratings.
4x4s increasingly dominate the school run. Mums who drive them defend their vehicle choice because they are safe for the occupants. But they are making the school run less safe for the vulnerable children and parents walking & cycling to school.
Alliance members conducted a survey of school run traffic along North Road on 21st May 2007. There are 7 schools in the immediate vicinity. In the critical period between 8 and 9am, we counted 160 4x4s. Of those, the 5 most popular and highly polluting models all have very low or non-existent Euro NCAP pedestrian safety ratings.
According to Blake Ludwig, co-founder and director of the Alliance, “All of the children on our streets have become crash test dummies. They have all become potential targets by drivers of large 4x4s.”
Download the results of our survey here (pdf) and see how the different 4x4s compare for pedestrian safety.
The Alliance Against Urban 4x4s are delivering specially designed romantic valentine cards to British actress Thandie Newton and footballer Harry Kewell.
The valentines are a thank you to the celebrities for joining the ranks of converts from gas-guzzling 4x4s to new low-emission hybrid vehicles.
Activists from the Alliance will also be secretly posting love messages under the windscreen wipers of low-emission cars in streets across the UK. Owners of tiny Smart cars (emissions around 120g/km of carbon dioxide), Toyota Prius hybrids (104 g/km), and the all-electric G-Wiz (zero emissions) will be thanked for their excellent choice of vehicle.
There are some notable celebrities who won’t be receiving valentine cards from the Alliance because they drive or promote gas-guzzling 4x4s.
Top of our list is celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, filmed in his new television series driving a large Range Rover which emits CO2 levels around 370g/km. Also not on our list are Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, race row Big Brother celeb Jade Goody, footballers David Beckham and Wayne Rooney, singers Madonna and George Michael, as well as Zara Philips and Ewan McGregor, both of whom have recently helped publicise 4x4s in advertisements.
Download a pdf of our Valentine card here or click on the image above. Print a few copies and show the clean car drivers in your neighbourhood how much you love them!
27 January 2007: Launch of Bristol Alliance Against Urban 4x4s
The Bristol Alliance Against Urban 4x4s celebrated its official launch on 27th January. Campaigners gathered in front of two large banners on College Green, after spending the morning issuing over 1,000 mock parking tickets to 4x4s in areas of central Bristol including Redland, Clifton and Broadmead.
Sign our petition for higher taxes for gas-guzzlers on the PM's website
With rumours that Gordon Brown may increase Vehicle Excise Duty on gas guzzlers, we need to make sure there's a significant reward for smaller cars and a bigger penalty for large wastemonsters in the next budget - please sign our petition to the Prime Minister at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/moretax4guzzlers/
25 November 2006: Edinburgh Alliance gets going
The Edinburgh branch of the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s has succesfully launched. Nearly a thousand spoof 'parking tickets' were issued to campaigners in all, and were issued to cars in New Town and Stockbridge.
"The days when people could drive tank-sized cars about the city without encountering public opinion are over," said Alliance spokesperson, Gregory Norminton. "18 of the 4x4 models in our streets fall within the highest band for CO2 emissions. This makes 4x4s the single most polluting group of cars on the market."
"We believe that government should ban advertisements for the most polluting vehicles or place visible health warnings over them, similar to those printed on cigarette packets. The largest 4x4s exceed by more than 200% the EU vehicle emissions target of 140 g CO2/km. They are also extremely dangerous to other road users, and can be fatal even at low speeds in collisions with pedestrians, especially children and the elderly."
See also the following articles in The Edinburgh Evening News and The Herald:
More on the Edinburgh Alliance blog: http://stopedinburgh4x4s.blogspot.com/
5 September 2006: Launch of Hampshire Alliance Against Urban 4x4s
5th September saw the launch of the Hampshire Alliance Against Urban 4x4s in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral. Representatives from 15 local groups attended in spite of the heavy rains and 4x4s were 'ticketed' around the town centre.
Organiser Darren Shirley said, "The Hampshire Alliance has been a long time coming. We don't want Winchester and the other towns and cities of Hampshire to end up like Chelsea! We aim to ensure appropriate measures are brought in locally to curb the influx of 4x4s."
19 July 2006: Alliance asks tough questions of car industry at motor show
Alliance members protested at the British International Motor Show's 'International Business Day' on 19th July, where Lewis Booth, Executive Vice-President for Ford in Europe, gave a keynote lecture claiming that 'the challenge of more sustainable motoring is at the top of the industry agenda'.
In contrast we highlighted the failure of the motor industry to reach even their voluntary EU targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions of cars and challenged companies to stop marketing gas-guzzling 4x4s in search of short-term profits.
The industry's own data show that the average carbon dioxide emissions of new cars in the UK was 169 g/km in 2005, down just 2 g/km on 2004, and with another 29 g/km to lose over the next two years in order to meet the voluntary industry target of 140 g/km by 2008.
While manufacturers made a brave attempt to pretend they have ecological credentials by showing off a few new 'green' models at the motor show, will they continue to fight compulsory CO2 targets in Europe and fund adverts denying the dangers of climate change in the USA?
The Alliance is asking the motor industry to redesign road transport from the bottom up right across their range, not greenwash from the top down!
12 July 2006: Success in London - Mayor announces higher congestion charge for gas-guzzlers, with a £25 top rate and discounts for cleaner cars
The plans, outlined to Assembly Members at City Hall, set out a sliding scale for cars emitting higher and lower levels of carbon dioxide emissions: cleaner cars in tax bands A and B will receive a discount on the current rate of £8, while cars in bands E, F and G will pay a higher rate with the dirtiest band G cars penalized with a top rate of £25.
The announcement follows the delivery to the Mayor on 14th June this year of the Alliance's 5,500 signature petition and a report setting out how higher payments could be implemented. The report called for a top rate of £20 for gas guzzlers (see below).
But the Mayor said that he had been told by Transport for London that an even more sophisticated scheme was practical, with a higher top rate and a sliding scale giving discounts for cleaner cars as well.
A public consultation on the plans will begin in the autumn, and we'll keep you informed about how you can submit your views to the Mayor.
£25 for 4x4s in London Guardian 12 July 2006
23 June 2006: 4x4 drivers four times more likely to break traffic laws
Reported on the front page of the Independent, research published by the British Medical Journal studied 41,000 drivers in London and discovered that the drivers of 4x4s are four times more likely to be using their mobile phone while driving, and more likely to be driving without a seatbelt.
The authors suggest their results support the theory of 'risk compensation', where drivers of 4x4s feel safer (they're not, see our safety page), and so are more likely to take part in risky behaviour.
Read the full report in the British Medical Journal here
14 June 2006: Charge gas-guzzlers more in London
A new report by the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s sets out how a higher Congestion Charge of £20 could be applied to highly polluting cars.
On 14 June we presented our report and a petition signed by 5,500 people to the Mayor's Transport Adviser, Jenny Jones AM, at City Hall.
We will now be sending the petition (which also calls for higher levels of road tax and a ban on advertising for 4x4s in the mainstream media) to new Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander. Add your signature on our petition page.
Some drivers would pay less under 'intelligent' congestion charge Times 27 June 2006
10 June 2006
The Alliance joins the World Naked Bike RIde
Members of the Alliance joined up with the World Naked Bike Ride in London on 10th June to help protest about oil dependency and car use. We preserved our modesty with pants covered in slogans such as '4x4s are pants' and '4x4s are a load of arse'.
The day was a huge success with almost 1,000 people attending the ride and raising eyebrows all over central London.
18 April 2006
'4x4s are minging' - Footballers' wives protest at Chelsea training ground
The Alliance Against Urban 4x4s carried out a daring protest on 18 April at the training ground of Chelsea Football Club.
Which team will be next as we seek to educate the premier league?
Car protestors target footballers BBC news 19 April 2006
22 March 2006
Brown budget puts a useless £45 extra tax on gas-guzzlers
"New top rate of £210 will not change a thing" says the Alliance. The government's own research shows that a top tax band of at least £900 per year is needed to make a difference to people's choice of car, with a difference between bands of £150 at a minimum.
This research is also backed by the Energy Saving Trust, Sustainable Development Commission and Transport 2000. The budget changes are a token masure that will make no difference to the growing carbon dioxide emissions of the UK car fleet, and Gordon Brown knows it.
New zero-rate vehicle tax for least polluting cars Guardian 23 March 2006
5 March 2006
Alliance launches in Brighton and Hove
"Blight on the Road" parking tickets designed by local resident Nick Sayers are a big hit in the seaside city. Local Green Party councillors join more than 30 volunteer 'parking wardens' to issue over 1,000 notices to local urban 4x4 drivers.
The event featured in ITV's 'Tonight with Trevor McDonald' in a programme about grassroots action to reduce the impact of our travel on the environment.
2 December 2005
Norwich Alliance Against Urban 4x4s is launched
Norwich Green Party and Friends of the Earth get together to launch the campaign in Norwich with a mass ticketing event in the city centre.
Councillor Rupert Read, Green transport spokesperson said, " We owe it to our children to find ways of cutting back on the prevalence of 4x4s in Norwich. Our hope is that this ‘tongue-in-cheek' campaign will help raise public awareness of this issue, and will encourage those Norwich-residents who are thinking of buying a 4x4 to get a more appropriate vehicle for urban driving.”
11th and 12th November 2005
International days of action across Europe and the USA co-ordinated by the Jumpstart Ford campaign
The Alliance Against Urban 4x4s took its message to Ford and their Premier Automotive Group design offices in the heart of Soho on 11th November, to highlight the failure of the company to reduce its carbon footprint in Europe.
Alliance members collected signed copies of a letter calling on Ford's Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, JC Mays, to urge Chairman Bill Ford to meet the company's voluntary European targets for carbon dioxide emissions rather than pushing monstrosities like the Range Rover Sport. More than 150 letters were signed and handed into Ford's offices after just an hour on the streets and many more letters were also sent in by supporters using email and post.
Campaigners in Europe also contacted the heads of Ford in their countries on 11th November, and the Jumpstart Ford campaign's 12th November 'Day of Intervention' saw dealerships across the United States adopted by activists telling Ford to get serious about breaking American's oil addiction.
7 October 2005: British Medical Journal editorial calls for health warnings on 4x4s
After reviewing the evidence for the risks to pedestrians of different vehicle designs, scientists writing in the BMJ call for health warnings on 4x4s. They are particularly concerned about the increase in 4x4s on our streets coinciding with an increase in older people in the population because the elderly are four times more likely to die if they are hit by a car.
Alliance members are asked to comment on the issue by ITV News, BBC London and Independent Radio News.
Other coverage of the health warnings proposal:
16 July 2005: