At an event in London last week I became the first civilian to drive the new Frazer-Nash London Cab on public roads. 

A range-extender hybrid, driven by electric motors and a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, it promises to combine 99mpg and tailpipe emissions that are close to clean air.

The Frazer-Nash cab heralds the beginning of a serious shift in automotive policy: reversing the so-called ‘dash for diesel’.

London Mayor Boris Johnson teamed up with Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf to set out his vision for an ‘Ultra Low Emission Zone’ in centre of the capital. 

The announcement was made on the 60th anniversary of the introduction of the Clean Air Act, which saw London abandon the burning of coal and wood, the main reason behind the legendary ‘pea souper’ fogs. The Act was forced into being because of a smog in December 1962, which is said to have killed 12,000 people.

But it’s becoming clear that the capital and other British towns and cities (including Birmingham, Oxford and Manchester) still have a serious air pollution problem. And it’s not something that we can smell so very easily.