It’s all too easy for elements of the media to constantly use the term
4×4 as a generic label when covering news items about high emission
cars. However the more informed amongst the media will understand that
high emission cars are just that – high emission cars – not necessarily
4x4s. For example, new 4x4s from Subaru achieve close on 50mpg – ie. they are more economical and lower emission than many family saloons. And 4x4s provide an essential tool for many people ranging from The National Trust to farmers.
So 4×4 owners have had enough. Pushed to the brink by the media, government and anti-4×4 groups, owners have now set up their own 4×4 Charter (http://www.4x4charter.com), which encourages environmental awareness and aims to counteract criticism and attacks received online, in the media and in parliament.
“By imposing self regulation, we hope to bridge the gap between government, environmentalists and activists,” said charter director, Robin Cole. “We need to bring 4×4 owners together and create a national community with a single voice that can and will be heard in the corridors of power. A lot of ill-conceived ideas and misinformation exists about 4x4s. It’s our intention to re-educate the public and set the record straight.”
The idea was born after 4×4 drivers expressed their annoyance at being targeted every time someone mentioned CO2 or global warming. They are now taking action and many want to be amongst the best class of environmentally aware drivers on the road. Constant threats of increased taxes, higher insurance premiums and parking charges, damaged vehicles, fake parking tickets and verbal abuse have all been contributing factors to this co-ordinated decision.
“The 4×4 Charter is designed to encourage our group of motorists to look at being green in many ways, first and foremost by agreeing to a ten-point charter. Once they agree to that, we’ll plant a tree on their behalf to help immediately offset some of their CO2 emissions,” said Robin. “We enjoy our vehicles as much as anyone else, and wish to carry on using them without the prejudice, victimisation and hate campaigns. Not a day passes without someone grumbling about us, yet a lot of the arguments against 4x4s just don’t stack up when you study the facts.”
Established as a not-for-profit, eco-friendly company, 4×4 Charter aims to plant a tree for every 4×4 on the UK’s roads, and to create a climate of compelling reasons for owners to sign up. With the use of certificates, car window stickers and a dedicated website, the group hopes people will rally to the cause, making the charter a recognised motoring organisation.
Robin continued: “We want our members to benefit by being green and considerate motorists, so we hope to offer them numerous benefits and discounts.” One area where discounts will be available will be at 4×4 Charter’s online shop, which stocks only recycled, Fair Trade and eco-friendly products.
“Everything we do in running the charter will be, as far as possible, eco-friendly, from the inks and paper we use for printing, to our choice of website host, telephony provider and electricity company,” Robin continued. “I hope the charter will be carbon neutral within its first year.”
Robin also hopes to attract all UK 4×4 owners – as three million members would be a voice that any Member of Parliament would consider!
The charter’s ten points are:
1) Drive with consideration for others
2) Park your vehicle sensibly and legally
3) Respect the countryside and leave nothing but tracks
4) Drive economically
5) Stay within the law
6) Plan your journey
7) Share the ride
8) Dispose of vehicle waste carefully
9) Avoid unnecessary journeys
10) Take it off/turn it off
The group also lists 20 further ideas that people can implement to help reduce global warming.
Further information can be found at
. Vehicle owners without internet access can call a dedicated line on 08458 698 698 for an information pack.