Negotiations between the council and the publishers of The London Paper and London Lite have been underway since January to tackle the three to four tonnes of waste freesheets dumped in Westminsters streets each night.
But according to the council, neither News International nor Associated Newspapers has made a satisfactory offer to help meet the estimated £500,000 set-up and running costs of a scheme that would ensure the newspapers are recycled.
Westminster cabinet member for street environment councillor Alan Bradley said: We simply cannot allow this situation to continue and have to make a decision within the next few weeks whether we will need to severely curtail their distribution to prevent this environmental pollution in the first place.
With a combined daily circulation in excess of 900,000 copies, the two free newspapers account for about a quarter of the street litter collected in the West End. After being contaminated with other waste in litter bins, the newspapers cannot be recycled.
Were doing all we can to address the problems but it is simply not fair on our residents and businesses to foot the bill for what is a problem of two newspaper making, Bradley added.