Air pollution in New Malden is too high according to European Union targets, an environmental survey has revealed.

In 2009, the Maldens and Coombe neighbourhood committee commissioned an study into nitrogen dioxide levels in four locations in New Malden, three of which were above the acceptable level set down by a European Union Directive.

The Fountain Roundabout, A3 roundabout and Burlington Infant and Junior Schools were all found to exceed 40 particles per cubic metre. The air around New Malden station was under the level.

Councillor Ken Smith, who asked for the study to be done, said the main reason for the pollution was the lack of bus lay-bys in New Malden High Street, which caused traffic pileups to cause more pollution.

Coun Smith, deputy chairman of the neighbourhood committee, said: “What I’m most concerned about are the shopkeepers in New Malden High Street. They’re the ones who have to be there all day.

“This is why we approached Transport for London for extra funding get the bus lay-bys back.”

But a spokesman at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said there were currently no legal penalties for local authorities exceeding air pollution targets, unless it could be shown that they had failed to address outstanding problems.

The Defra spokesman said: “The EU limits apply to the UK as a whole, so there is currently no legal mechanism for taking action against a local authority.

But, he warned: “If local authorities are found to be not working towards these limits then they can be fined.”