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Ticket facts and references

The information in our parking tickets has been checked with reputable sources.

Follow the links below to find the origins of the facts we use, as well as lots more information that isn't available in the shiny 4x4 showrooms.

Number of 4x4s on the street

These figures are difficult to pin down. We use data from the UK manufacturers’ trade body, who insist they make up just 7% of new car sales

However, the Evening Standard has reported that one in seven London cars is a 4x4 ("Call for tax on off-roaders" 2nd September 2004) and surveys conducted by Alliance members while waiting for buses in central London suggest that more than 10% of cars going past (excluding vans, taxis, buses etc) are now urban 4x4s.

Fuel economy and emissions data

The Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) of the UK Government has a searchable database of fuel economy and emissions information on almost every car available in the UK.

The Environmental Transport Association’s ‘Car Buyer’s Guide’ has a useful search facility that helps you find the ‘best in class’ for the type of vehicle you need. If you genuinely drive off-road, this is the place to look up the least environmentally damaging 4x4s.

The database can also be used to look up emissions figures for individual makes of car:

The data on the tickets covering carbon dioxide emissions and transport is given by the UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs in the environment section of their website.

The fact that every gallon of extra fuel gives out 9kg of carbon dioxide is converted to UK gallons and kilograms from Environmental Protection Agency advice on fuel economy issued in the USA.


The safety information included in the tickets is from UK accident data, released by insurance companies, or from safety tests carried out by the European car safety testing organisation Euro-NCAP.

The fact that urban 4x4s are involved in 25% more accidents than saloon cars comes from UK insurance company Churchill, as reported by the Mail on Sunday (see here: Safe bet for a bump)

The higher risk of a rollover on the motorway comes from an analysis carried out by the UK Highway’s Agency showing that 4x4s are twice as likely as other cars to roll over in collisions with motorway and roadside crash barriers. The study was reported in various newspapers and in the motor trade press:
4x4 safety fears – Mirror
4x4s ‘unsafe’ – AutoTrader

Euro-NCAP consistently gives low pedestrian ratings to 4x4s, and big models have received scores as low as 0 out of 36 for pedestrian safety. Published analyses regularly use phrases like ‘pedestrian protection was dire’ to describe big 4x4s . There are only a handful of new 4x4s with more than one star out of five in this category, including the Honda CRV, Volvo XC90, Audi Q7, and Toyota RAV-4.

There's more information about the risks to families with big 4x4s, including a frightening analysis of blind spots (including measurements for many models of cars available in the UK), at the website of American Organisation ‘Kids and Cars’:

Climate change effects

There's no dispute about this one. We're all seeing the effects of climate change every day, whether it's hail in July, flooding in Cornwall sweeping away a 300-year old village, or hurricanes destroying our favourite holiday destinations.

Every month, more scientific and government reports are being released showing the urgency of the problem and the devastating economic and health effects that will result from climate change.

To find out more, visit the websites below.
New Scientist:
United National Environment Programme:
UK Government Stern Review for the Treasury: Stern Review homepage

Actual off-road use

In 2001, a survey by website Fish4Cars revealed that 62 per cent of urban 4x4 drivers never go off-road, and by summer 2004 it had got worse. A survey reported in the Independent, Guardian, Marketing Week, Sunday Herald and many other newspapers showed that only one in eight 4x4 drivers in the UK drive their cars off the road.

With Londoners the most likely to buy a 4x4 and people in Scotland (where there is plenty of rough terrain that might justify it) the least likely, it’s clear 4x4s aren’t being bought because people need them.,11882,1235364,00.html

A quarter of car journeys cover less than 2 miles

The GB National Travel Survey is published annually by the Office for National Statistics and the Department for Transport. The 2005 report says "Nearly a quarter of all car trips were shorter than two miles in length."
National Travel Survey 2005 (pdf)

Health effects of particulate pollution from diesel engines

The health effects of poor air quality in cities are widely known and cause a lot of concern. The London Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy outlines some of the issues and shows how diesel engines are responsible for most particulates:

A recent study showed that, if you live in a big city, air pollution could be shortening your life expectancy more than the radiation exposure from the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. See this article from the Guardian from April 2007, which also contains tips on how to reduce your exposure:,,2049625,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=1

The VCA website lists particulate emissions along with carbon dioxide for different models of car. Some diesel cars reduce their emissions by filtering out particulates, so it is worth looking out for these.

Calories burned during exercise

The Nutristrategy website is a good source of information on the calories burned by different kinds of exercise. Depending on your speed and weight, you burn between 200 and 300 calories per hour when you take a walk. Chocolate biscuits are around 80 calories each (see the packet).

London's urban sprawl

While London's population lags slightly behind Paris, a glance at the atlas shows that London takes up far more space. This is because of differences in living patterns, including our love of semi-detached houses.