To their admirers, they are the latest must-haves in status, style and chic. To their critics, they are dangerous, polluting and gas guzzling brutes. Known as Chelsea tractors they are urban 4X4s or SUVs. But the news that Londoners are the most likely people in the whole of the UK to buy 4X4s will come as no surprise to people who have watched in horror as more and more off-roaders clog up London’s streets and pollute its air.

A recent survey has found that one in six Londoners who are looking to replace their car this year planned to buy an off-road vehicle, compared to one in 12 nationally.

The London 4x4s are never going to go off-road, just sit in mile after mile of congested traffic jams. But never fear, last year someone invented spray-on mud so people could stay at home, and then spray their car so it looks like they had had a rugged weekend in the country. Whatever next?