Fast-food outlets must clear litter surrounding their property or face a £2,500 fine from today.
The start of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act introduces a slew of new powers to help councils combat the rubbish problem.
Street Litter Notice Controls can now be issued to fast food businesses forcing them to clean up waste within 100m of their premises.
If the problem is persistent, businesses can be forced to carry out regular clean ups and install additional bins for waste.
Councils can also restrict leafleting, forcing companies in designated problem areas to contact them for permission to hand out flyers and other promotional material.
Cigarette butts and chewing gum are also formally defined as litter and can attract spot fines of up to £80.
Despite these new tough powers, the Government has urged a partnership approach between councils and fast-food operators and suggests adopting the guidelines set out in an earlier Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs report.
By Tom Bill