MPs have accused Boris Johnson of failing “to make the required policy trade-offs” and implement measures needed to “achieve acceptable levels of air quality”.
The rebuke comes in a new report by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee into air pollutions levels.
Since taking office in 2008, the Mayor has faced repeated criticisms from London Assembly members and clean air campaigners over his air quality policies, including delaying the third phase of the Low Emission Zone.
City Hall has previously defended the Mayor’s policies, highlighting his championing of electric vehicles, cycling and greener bus technologies.
However the committee ridiculed the Mayor and Transport for London’s treating of road surfaces with dust suppressants, calling for action “more credible than spraying the roads with adhesive.”
In September the Mayor told London Assembly Member Jenny Jones that once treated, the pollution was no longer a problem “unless you bend over, get down on all fours and snort it”
Ministers have also been criticised for seeking extensions to EU deadlines to comply with emission and pollution targets rather than taking action to tackle the problem.
The committee says it “can see no circumstances in which a delay in achieving these targets or a lessening of these targets would be acceptable” and warns that “any delay or lessening would simply put more lives a risk”.
It is estimated that 4,000 people died in London in 2008 due to air pollution.
MPs say the Government “must now embark on a strategy that aims to achieve air quality targets.”
Committee chair Joan Walley MP said: “It is a national scandal that thousands of people are still dying from air pollution in the UK in 2011 – and the government is taking no responsibility for this.”
Last week AM Darren Johnson called for the Mayor to rewrite his Air Quality Strategy after Ministers “ignored” 14 proposals to reduce pollution.
Simon Birkett, Founder and Director of Clean Air in London (CAL), said: “No Parliamentary Select Committee can ever have published a more damning report of a Government’s failure to protect its people from harm.”
Birkett added: “Clean Air in London welcomes the EAC’s stinging criticism of the Mayor’s failure to ‘make the required policy trade-offs and achieve acceptable levels of air quality’. The Mayor also deserves the ridicule he gets for ‘spraying the roads with adhesive’.”
Mike Tuffrey, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly environment spokesperson, said: “Air pollution is one of the most serious public health issues that we now face. It is vital that both the Government and the Mayor take action before thousands more people are sentenced to having years taken off their lives.”
Calling for the Mayor to introduce a Clean Air Zone for central London, Tuffrey added: ” the Mayor of London must now stop relying on minor measures which merely treat the symptoms of pollution, such as dusting down streets and encouraging green walls, and instead directly tackle the causes of air pollution.”
A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said “We welcome the committee’s continued interest in this work, and we will fully consider their recommendations before providing a written response in due course.”