A report by the House of Commons' Environmental Audit Committee has said that the level of air pollution is so high in the UK that it is shortening people's lives by up to nine years.
Nitrogen oxides, ozone and particles of sulphate, carbon and dust are the most common pollutants.
Britain is violating the EU's regulations for all these and could be asked to pay heavy penalties amounting to nearly 300 million pounds.
Vehicular pollution is the main culprit and the report says only a radical shift in transport policy can help the UK meet the EU norms.
"But such a shift is unlikely to occur in the next 10 years, unless the government starts taking sustainable transport seriously," New Scientist quoted Paul Firmin of the Institute for transport Studies at the University of Leeds, as saying.