Councillor Slams Tyre Deflating Climate Activists

Campaign described as divisive as Wimbledon area targeted again

Many cars had their tyres deflated in Wimbledon

A councillor has slammed climate activists after cars in Wimbledon had their tyres deflated this week.

Cllr Max Austin, who is an ambassador for the Conservative Environment Network, called the action “divisive” and said the area was targeted for being “posh and middle class”.

The activists are part of the “leaderless movement” which believes SUVs should be banned in urban areas. The campaign calls on people to deflate the tyres of large cars and leave behind a leaflet with the heading “attention, your gas guzzler kills”.

The group claims it “disarmed” more than 600 vehicles overnight on Tuesday, September 6, across nine countries in what it called its largest action. This was the second time cars in Wimbledon were targeted.

Cllr Austin said the action was “stupidly counter-productive” and said some electric vehicles were targeted.

He said, “We knew that this was coming there had been leaflets on social media saying Wimbledon was going to be targeted. They tell people to target, quote, ‘posh middle class areas’.

“People are obviously pretty annoyed about it. I think this alienates people and toxifies the debate, it also targeted a number of electric vehicles.

“I think there may be a transition away from polluting vehicles but you can’t just pull the plug and say that’s that. We as a council need to sort out the required infrastructure and encourage people to get electric cars.

“My broader concern is it is taking out random members of the public and holding them responsible for a whole shift that is required. It is exclusionary with no idea about their ability or disabilities, I think it is divisive.”

Marion Walker, Tyre Extinguishers spokesperson, said in six months 9,000 SUVs have been targeted across the world. She added: “If enough people join us, it will be impossible to own an SUV in the world’s urban areas, and we’ll see these death machines piling up on the scrapheap.”

It is not the first time the area has been targeted, and in August the group Tweeted: “In our first action in the Wimbledon area of South London, 21 SUVs were disarmed over the last two evenings. These actions took place in the Bernard Gardens, Glendale Drive and Lake Road areas. No polluting death machine will be spared.”



Tara O'Connor - Local Democracy Reporter

September 8, 2022