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Free Mudwash for Urban 4x4s

news release

News Release

Embargo: 9am, Saturday 16th July 2005

Photo Opportunity

Campaigners will be on St. Ann Street in Manchester at 11am on Saturday 16th July armed with squeegees and buckets of mud.

Campaigners from the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s [1] will be offering drivers of large four-wheel drive off-road vehicles (4x4s) in Manchester city centre a free ‘Mudwash’ on Saturday 16th July. With few 4x4s ever actually seeing the countryside, the Mudwash is intended to give owners the chance to make their vehicles look like they have been used for the purpose for which they were designed – namely going off-road.

95% of 4x4s never leave a tarmac road, although their size and design makes them wholly unsuitable for urban use. Large off-road vehicles burn fuel at a rate that puts the climate at risk, whilst also posing a danger to pedestrians (especially children), cyclists and drivers of smaller cars. If a pedestrian is hit by a 4×4 they are twice as likely to be killed [2], and in a side-impact collision with a 4×4, a car driver is around four times more likely to be killed than if they were hit by a conventional car [3]. The ‘Mudwash’ campaign aims to drive home the point that urban use of 4x4s is inappropriate, polluting, unsafe and anti-social.

Spokesperson Dave Coleman said:

“An increasing number of people are buying 4x4s in the mistaken belief that they are somehow safer or more manoeuvrable than conventional cars. In fact, these huge vehicles pollute, threaten and endanger lives and our environment. They are neither safe, clean nor cool, and while we’re not sure how many drivers will take up our offer of a free mudwash, we’re confident the event will make people even more aware that in Manchester as elsewhere, driving these vehicles in and around town is socially unacceptable.”


Notes to Editors

1. The Alliance Against Urban 4x4s ( is a grassroots umbrella organisation with the aim of uniting environment, consumer, road safety groups and concerned individuals in an alliance against the growth of urban Four Wheel Drive vehicles on our streets. For more information about the kind of people supporting the campaign see

2. New Scientist, 13th December 2003: “Pedestrians at risk from sports utility vehicles”,

3. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 10th February 1998: “New study of relationships between vehicle weight and occupant death rates helps put in perspective issue of crash compatibility”,

4. The Alliance is supported by Manchester Friends of the Earth, a prominent campaign group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on the website: Manchester Friends of the Earth is part of a national network of local groups, affiliated to the national organisation (further information can be found at

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