The UK government plans to penalize automakers who try to cheat emissions tests with criminal charges that go "above and beyond" European rules -- including the threat of unlimited fines. The measures, which have been put to public consultation, are aimed at preventing a repeat of the Volkswagen Group scandal in which 11 million cars were equipped with software that altered emission control systems during testing. Outside of the tests, the vehicles released up to 40 times more nitrogen oxide than regulations allow. "We continue to take the unacceptable actions of Volkswagen extremely seriously, and we are framing new measures to crack down on emissions cheats in future," Transport Minister Jesse Norman said in an emailed statement. "Those who cheat should be held to proper account in this country, legally and financially, for their actions."