Climate campaigners place Asbos onto 'Chelsea tractors' in Clifton
A CLIMATE change campaign group has turned the debate about cycling on pavements on its head – by targeting big cars.
Climate Rush Bristol left 'Anti-Social Behaviour Orders' on 4x4s in Clifton yesterday to highlight the vehicles' impact on the city.
The group claims that owning a so-called "Chelsea tractor" can be as anti-social to other road users as cycling on pavements is to pedestrians due to the space they take up and their damage to air quality.
Harry Holmes, from Climate Change Rush, said: "A few of us wanted to highlight a real problem in our city and the threat to the environment.
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"The idea came out of the choice by some groups to name and shame anti-social cyclists and to brand cycling on pavements as anti-social.
"Riding like an idiot on the pavement is no way to behave but in the grand scheme of things it is a relatively small problem."
The 27-year-old added: "The social impact of cars is much greater than yobs cycling on the high street. We believe that the social impact of having a large vehicle in the city is pretty significant.
"The costs are enormous from vehicles which are blocking up parking spaces and making it difficult to get past while kicking out more than a reasonable amount of pollution in to the air."
Climate Rush's day of action left a new mark on a debate which they believe is often too divisive.
Mr Holmes said: "We don't want to ban all cars. Some people really need to use their cars daily but people on both sides need to consider whether their behaviour is reasonable.
"This is a genuine attempt to promote the city for everyone, whether you drive a car or cycle."
The group said they targeted Clifton as it was an easy choice. Mr Holmes explained that the number of large vehicles in the area far outweighed any other neighbourhood.
The campaign group's actions in Clifton caused a stir among drivers who readily dismissed the activists' goals.
Roger Lawson, a spokesperson from the Association of British Drivers, said: "If it's legal, people should be able to make their own decisions on the matter.
"The tax system already prejudices drivers of large vehicles so why should they now face criticism from the public."
He added: "It's anti-social to drop litter and if this group are leaving leaflets on cars it is reprehensible behaviour to say the very least."
Climate Rush Bristol is the regional arm of the London-based Climate Rush campaign.
The group prides itself on direct action, or "deeds not words".
Their action against anti-social cars came after a campaign by the Bristol Older People's Forum to highlight how many people were cycling on Bristol's pavements.