Tyre extinguishers: Who are the Tyre Extinguishers and why are they deflating SUV tyres?
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SUV drivers in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and across the UK are waking up to find their tyres have been deflated.
Left on their windscreens like a parking ticket is a leaflet from a group calling themselves the Tyre Extinguishers with the message: “It’s not you, it’s your car”.
Hundreds of vehicles have been targeted in Edinburgh so far, and thousands across the UK and abroad.
But who are the Tyre Extinguishers, what do they want, and why are they letting down people’s tyres?
Who are the Tyre Extinguishers? What is their aim?
The Tyre Extinguishers describes itself as an autonomous worldwide movement of people who want to make it impossible to own an SUV or 4x4 in urban areas.
They are climate protesters who say they are defending themselves against climate change, air pollution, and unsafe drivers.
Their leaflet, which they distribute on targeted vehicles, says: “SUVs and 4x4s are a disaster for our climate. SUVs are the second largest cause of the global rise in carbon dioxide emissions over the past decade – more than the entire aviation industry.
"We are taking action into our own hands because our governments and politicians will not.”
The activists unscrew the caps on tyre valves, drop in a lentil or bean, replace the cap and the tyre deflates. It takes just a few moments, according to Vice reporter Douglas Rogers who shadowed the group for a night.
Where have the Tyre Extinguishers struck?
The group says it is mainly targeting “posh” and wealthy areas where SUVs and 4x4s are prevalent. In Scotland, they have struck in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.
They say they have “disarmed” more than 5,000 tyres across the UK – including in London, = Brighton and Hove, and Bristol.
The Tyre Extinguishers have also gone international, with movements emerging in Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, and across the USA.
In Edinburgh, vehicle tyres have been deflated in Merchiston, Bruntsfield, Leith, Portbello, Hillside, Marchmont, and New Town.
Meanwhile, in Glasgow a group called the Deflationists claim to have struck in the Newlands and Shawlands areas.
Tyre Extinguishers say a Scottish rivalry has broken out between Glasgow and Edinburgh, with activists competing to deflate the most tyres in each city.
The group said on social media: “Glasgow is a late entry to the competition, while Edinburgh is challenging Brighton, London and Bristol for hardest-hit city in the UK by activists deflating SUVs. But it's all to play for!”
Which vehicles do Tyre Extinguishers target?
Tyre Extinguishers are targeting SUVs and 4x4s which are larger than regular cars, more polluting and use more fuel.
The types of SUVs they have earmarked include: Land Rover Discovery, Volvo, Jeep, Nissan, and Toyota.
Electric cars and hybrids are “fair game” according to the group, as they say “we cannot electrify our way out of the climate crisis”.
Tyre Extinguishers argues these cars still create damaging PM 2.5 air pollution from their tyres and brake pads. The group also says the mining of the metal to create electric and hybrid cars is unethical and not sustainable.
However, Tyre Extinguishers discourages activists from targeting vehicles clearly used for people with disabilities. They also avoid traders’ vehicles, minibuses, and “normal” sized cars.
Are you a tyre extinguisher? Or has your vehicle been targeted by the group? We want to speak to you. Email [email protected]