A new group of environmental campaigners has deflated the tyres on “hundreds” of SUVs in cities around the country.
The group, calling itself the Tyre Extinguishers, is taking direct action against cars it deems to be a “climate disaster”.
SUVs, including all-electric models which produce no on-road emissions, were targeted in 13 “well-to-do” locations around the country on Monday night.
Owners in London, Edinburgh, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Liverpool and Sheffield were among those targeted, with at least one tyre on their car let down and a note declaring “your gas guzzler kills” left on the windscreen.
In the message the group also claims affected motorists “will have no difficulty getting around without your gas guzzler, with walking, cycling or public transport”.
One driver targeted by the group shared a picture of her all-electric Mercedes EQC and urged the campaigners to “think before you act”.
She wrote: “You let down my tyres and I didn’t notice until I started driving with my three children in my car. My car is fully electric.
“We also had a child that required to be at the hospital for an appointment in the city.”
The group, which claims “air pollution is racist”, says that EVs and hybrids are fair game for attack because “These are still polluting, dangerous and cause congestion.”
Marion Walker, of The 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.”
Petrol and diesel SUVs are often less fuel efficient and produce more CO2 than smaller vehicles but the group’s random targetting of private property without knowing the owners’ circumstances has been criticised.
Drivers on social media attacked the group’s actions as juvenile and dangerous, with one writing: “You should never interfere with private property. Your actions should not cause individuals anger, stress, or worse. Also, you don’t know why they drive a certain type of car. This small-minded activity will achieve nothing positive.”
Another commented: “Imagine suffering heavily with depression and anxiety, struggling to even force yourself to go to work, and then you come out to this. The very last thing you need that day. I’ve been there and the answer is not good. Lots suffer with those things.”
Others pointed out that some people with mobility issues preferred SUVs for the ease of access, while many people relied on their cars to get to work and medical appointments.