Edinburgh Tyre Extinguishers, a local division of a UK climate protest group, targeted SUVs in Portobello on Sunday night. They deflated tyres on around 30 vehicles, leaving a leaflet on their windscreen outlining the environmental effect of the vehicle.
The group have targeted other parts of the city in recent months including the New Town and Morningside, letting down tyres and leaving leaflets on the SUVs targeted, saying they were ‘gas guzzlers’.
The leaflets left on the cars read: “We have deflated one or more of your tyres. You’ll be angry, but don’t take it personally. It’s not you. It’s your car”.
On that occasion, they added: “There are so many SUVs in the New Town that we ran out of leaflets. We'll be back”.
Now the protest group are warning that they intend to step up their protests in the Capital because they don’t believe that the city council’s plans for sustainable transport are radical enough.
The SNP, the largest group on the city council are last week’s elections, and the Greens are committed to a number of measures including congestion charging for drivers heading into Edinburgh, a Low Emmission Zone where the most polluting vehicles would be banned and a Workplace Parking Levy.
However, many of these measures will rely on support from other political parties, and there has been criticism from climate activists that the planned measures do not far and fast enough.
Another division of the group were very active in Glasgow when the city was hosting COP26 climate conference last year, again targeting SUVs.
In a statement released on Monday, the protest group stated: “Tyre Extinguishers in Edinburgh last night deflated tyres on around 30 SUVs in Edinburgh's seaside suburb, Portobello, just metres away from the local police station.
“The Tyre Extinguishers’ aim is to make it impossible to own an SUV in the world’s urban areas.
“Edinburgh's politicians have been elected with promises to take action on the climate crisis, on air pollution and on road safety. But their plans go nowhere near far enough. Our message to them is: Take real action, or we'll take it for you.”
As part of the election pledge, the SNP, Labour and the Green Party all promised to expand the network of cycleways across Edinburgh, and they are committed to expanding parking permit zones.
Alys Mumford, local councillor for the Scottish Greens, said: “We need urgent action to stop climate change, and I can completely understand the frustrations of people who are sick of hearing empty promises and not seeing any change.
“Today is only my first day as a Scottish Green Party Coucillor for Portobello/Craigmillar, but I am committed to pushing forward the bold decisions that are needed to drastically reduce car use, improve our air quality, and help prevent runaway climate change."
The act has drawn a mixture of opinions from the community, with one person taking to Facebook to say: “Find them charge them with criminal damages.”
Another added: “I’m all for looking after the planet but when people are missing out on wages and having to spend a fortune because of someone else’s destructiveness, it’s downright unacceptable.”
Some were more supportive, with one writing: “Owning any car is a joke in Porty place is covered in them... Feels like a car park at the sea down here.”
Police Scotland has confirmed that it has received reports of the incident and enquiries are ongoing.