LONDONERS could foot the bill for multi-million pound penalties if the capital fails to meet strict European air pollution targets.
The Localism bill proposes that the fines - likely to be about £300 million - should be devolved to local authorities including City Hall and borough councils. This could cost every London taxpayer up to £25 a year.
Green campaigners claim London, which has already received a "final warning" from Brussels, is in serious danger of breaching EU limits by a deadline this year.
They say Boris Johnson's decision to shelve anti-pollution measure and scrap the Western extension of the congestion charge could make the situation even worse, but the Mayor has defended his policies and said he would oppose plan to hand fines to local government.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Johnson said: "Air quality in London is dependent on a number of factors, many of which are not under the control of the Mayor or the borough and it would be quite wring for national government to pass on financial penalties."
London Evening Standard. Friday 21 January 2011.