Early this morning 35 Greenpeace volunteers shut down the assembly line making gas-guzzling Range Rovers. Urban 4x4s made at this site are wrecking the climate.
The volunteers used safety shut-down buttons to cut off power to the assembly line before handcuffing and chaining themselves to unfinished vehicles along the 150m long assembly line and branding it a climate crime scene. It's the first time anywhere in the world that protesters have shut down a factory making Sports Utility Vehicles.
Climate change is the greatest threat the planet is facing. According to the World Health Organisation, 150,000 people are already dying every year as a result of the impacts of climate change including droughts, floods and storms. Yet Land Rover continues to make gas-guzzling vehicles, most of which will tackle nothing steeper than a speed bump.
The Range Rover is the UK's least fuel-efficient 4x4 doing a criminal 12 miles to the gallon in urban areas. The new Range Rover Sport, which "has been tuned primarily for on road performance," does fewer miles to the gallon than the Model T Ford built 80 years ago.
Making cars like this for urban use is crazy. Land Rover aggressively markets its range of 4x4s - like Discovery and Range Rover - in towns and cities. It spends ?3 million on advertising in London alone. Land Rover's parent company Ford has also stood in the way of government action to tackle climate change both in Europe and the US.
In the UK, road transport accounts for about a quarter of the emissions that cause climate change, which makes it the second biggest source of greenhouse gases. The trend of 4x4 vehicles as urban run-arounds is increasing the amount of emissions going into the atmosphere.
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Greenpeace executive director Stephen Tindale is one of the volunteers currently chained to Range Rover chassis. He said: "We've taken direct action to stop Land Rover making these gas-guzzling urban 4x4s. The company used to have a reputation for making working vehicles, but now they market themselves as the car company for people who love the wilderness while simultaneously producing cars that threaten our environment with catastrophic climate change."
There's no future and no jobs in making cars that wreck the climate. Land Rover and Ford have the technology to develop far more fuel-efficient vehicles but they choose not to. It's time for Land Rover to stop making gas-guzzlers and time for Tony Blair to tax them off our roads.
At 11am Greenpeace representatives were invited to a meeting with the management of Range Rover. Almost two hours later, after negotiations broke down, two of the representatives were arrested, as well as another 13 who remained chained to Range Rovers on the assembly line. They have all been released on bail.