Deary me, we seem to have opened up a right hornet's nest of worms with our protest against urban 4×4 vehicles on the school run, if the reaction in the local papers is anything to go by.

"It is outrageous that environmental groups should target car dealerships in an effort to stop people buying 4x4s. What next – the family saloon? This is an interference with individual rights. It’s not for others to decide what you drive or what you wear. Would they tolerate us demanding they pay road tax for using their bicycles on our roads?"
S T Vaughan, Solihull News, 21st Jan

"How right Friends of the Earth are about 4×4 vehicles. They should pay an extra road tax."
Robin Wright, Birmingham Post, 27th Jan

"Rather than worrying about what parents drive on the school run, we should be asking why they are driving at all. If we assume it is not for pleasure then perhaps your headlines of the past can help. I suggest 'pupils face cheap bus rides axe' (July 3, 2001), 'School bus axe hits 525 pupils' (July 19, 2002) and 'schools bus cash storm' (July 6, 2002). The disappearance of 53 school bus routes might be significant."
Dr Steven Grainger, Secretary to the Governors, The Schools of King Edward the Sixth in Birmingham, Birmingham Evening Mail, 25th Jan

"How blinkered can some people be condemning 4×4 vehicles? In limited conditions especially emergencies, they are invaluable. As for causing injury, what about buses, lorries, vans etc.”
R B Gilbert, Birmingham Evening Mail, 25th Jan

"Some of the comments made by the campaigners against 4×4 vehicles suggest that they are dangerous, unsafe, inappropriate and even responsible for climate change. In terms of being dangerous, are they liable to leap out at unsuspecting pedestrians or is it the average driver who’s more likely to be dangerous, not the car? Inappropriate? Well, that’s a subjective matter. I see black cabs in the city centre with only one passenger. That’s what I call inappropriate. My 4×4 doesn’t use any more fuel than the car I had previously – typically 33mpg. Responsible for climate change? Dr Beeching was responsible for climate change in this country when he axed the railways in 1964."
'4×4 Driver', Birmingham Evening Mail, 25th Jan

"I heartily agree with the protesters who were demonstrating against the 4×4 vehicles on the school run. 4x4s have their place – on farms and in open country. It is ridiculous for them to be driven in urban areas. As well as being extremely inefficient in fuel consumption and heaving a detrimental effect on the environment, these huge vehicles reduce visibility for other road users and slow down traffic. More to the point, though, why are children being driven to school at all? If children walked or cycled to school, it would serve two valuable purposes – no school run traffic and slimmer, fitter children."
Jenny Berki, Birmingham Evening Mail, 25th Jan

"I wonder if this isn’t a class issue, 4×4 vehicles being seen as a badge of the 'landed gentry' against which there is an open season.

It is a pity that one of the foremost producers of these vehicles is based on the Midlands and is now enjoying some deserved success. Should we be trying to undermine their business based on spurious generalised arguments that are outdated? If that is the case why not surrender the rest of UK manufacturing industry to overseas whilst we are at it. We will have plenty of time for tree hugging then. We will be out of work while our manufacturing jobs will be exported to ruthless far eastern capitalists who run unregulated sweatshop factories with free reign to produce as much pollution as they like."
Tim Senior, Birmingham Post, 15th Jan

"It comes to something when protesters tell you what car you can drive. Surely if someone feels the need to drive a 4×4 then that is their prerogative."
S T Vaughan, Birmingham Evening Mail, 14th Jan

"Well done to Friends of the Earth for criticising townies who drive 4x4s. These gas-guzzling status symbols take up space and are dangerous to other road users."
R Thomas, Birmingham Evening Mail, 18th Jan

"Figures recently published by the UK government show that 4x4s are the most survivable vehicles in real accidents, surpassed only by the largest luxury saloons . . .

Todays [sic] 4x4s have to meet exactly the same pedestrian impact regulations that all cars do. Any minor extra resources used in constructing a 4×4 are more than compensated for by the fact that these vehicles last so much longer due to their robust construction and strong second-hand values. In the case of the Land Rover range, the energy expended in transporting them from Solihull is somewhat less than transporting small hatchbacks from Korea . . .

Given that FoE don't like cars, one has to wonder why they have picked on 4x4s, and what type of car they might pick on next."
Chris Ward, Birmingham Post, 27th Jan

"Excuse my language but flippin' heck some people need to find better things to do with their lives. This week a bunch of 'activists' dressed up as teachers and harangued parents taking their children to school. The parents [sic] crime? . . . These harassed parents were guilty of driving a 4×4 motor vehicle. . .

The green dreamers who were having a go at innocent parents outside King Edward VI, Camp Hill, on Tuesday, say the large vehicles are responsible for polluting the city and a hazard to pedestrians. So let me get this right. It's actually Range Rovers that are the sole cause of pollution, not factories or any of the millions of other cars on the roads and it's 4x4s which are doing all the killing on the roads. . .

Give me strength. . . Following these loony liberal's [sic] thinking to its ultimate conclusion, surely the planet can only be saved and our children safe on he roads if all cars are banned, but then they probably wouldn't think that such a ridiculous idea anyway. . .

Maybe these rebels without a cause should get a job [sic], then perhaps they'll be able to occupy their time doing something constructive." [Like writing witless, semi-literate drivel for a fourth-rate provincial rag, presumably? – Ed]
'Shooting from the Lip', Birmingham News, 13th Jan