The European Commission has warned that the UK has failed to address breaches of air pollution limits for nitrogen dioxide.
The commission has since sent final warnings to the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, following persistently high levels of nitrogen dioxide N02, which has mainly resulted from road traffic.
If the regulation is not complied with, the issue could go to the European court of justice, and and the countries in question could potentially pay a fine.
Large amounts of N02 caused nearly 70,000 premature deaths in Europe in 2013, three times the amount of deaths caused by road traffic accidents in the same year.
Louise Duprez, senior policy officer on air pollution at the European Environmental Bureau, commented: “EU air pollution laws are designed to protect our health. There’s no excuse for countries that fail to implement these laws properly.
“Children growing up in urban areas deserve better than to be forced to inhale toxic fumes known to cause bronchitis, asthma and other conditions. People all over Europe will welcome the European Commission’s action on this issue.”