The European Commission has sent a final warning to five EU countries, including the UK, regarding persistent breaches of nitrogen dioxide in 16 air quality zones.
Commissioners raised concerns over high levels of air pollution in cities including Leeds, London, Birmingham, and Glasgow.
Yorkshire Conservative MEP Amjad Bashir said: “Pollution comes from economic success. That is why five major European economies are all being torn off a strip.
“The warnings have to be taken seriously, though, and that is a challenge for our local councils and our national government. Bad air causes bad health and claims lives prematurely. On purely financial grounds it claims a huge slice of our national health budget.
“Ambitious targets right across Europe for reducing air pollution are only right. We must see that they are met. We should not need to be reminded of our duty.
“The key to this is not simple, but we must address the problem urgently at all levels from international down to local.”