European Car Free Day 2001

Saturday 22 September was European Car Free Day and so, armed with determination, a cardboard car, a handful of bus tickets and masses of free fruit, Manchester Friends of the Earth headed for Exchange Street (the entrance to St Anne's Square) to promote the benefits of a car free lifestyle. With the blessing of the council they unveiled a day of entertainment, food and politics, all designed to convince shoppers to think about the way they travel.

We all know that the rising tide of traffic is ecologically and socially unsustainable, but we need reminding that there are sensible, practical alternatives. This festival showed how much more fun and sociable a street can be without cars.

The day was opened by Manchester City Council's Deputy Leader Martin Pagel, Ruth Turner from Sustain-ability NW (and co-founder of Big Issue in the North) and Val Stevens for the GMPTA. Shoppers were lured over by "Sambangra" the excellent Manchester samba band and were pleasantly bemused by the free organic fruit. While kids enjoyed the giant ark (a lively symbol of the threat of climate change) and a 2m inflatable globe, parents discussed with campaigners the practicalities of car-free life. Those convinced to give up their cars for a day were given a free day travel pass for the whole county. MFoE hope to have reports back from some of these intrepid individuals in the near future to see if they'll be getting out of their cars more often.

Graeme Sherriff, Manchester Friends of the Earth (0161 834 8221,

Photos from the day

Martin Pagel (Deputy Leader, Manchester City Council), Val Stevens (GMPTA rep) and Ruth Turner (Sustainability NW board member) open the day


all together
Manchester FoE members at the opening ceremony


Ruth Turner signs
Ruth Turner pledges to give up her car for a day


the public pledges
The first member of the public pledges to give up their car for a day, and receives a free day's travel on all of Greater Manchester's public transprot


Info: Manchester FoE (0161 834 8221,

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