In a move that could potentially significantly increase costs for SMEs, new government proposals could make it the responsibility of businesses to keep their local streets clean and free of litter.The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has begun consultation on expanding the number of businesses which face 'street litter control notices'. Under the new proposals, all eating and drinking venues as well as office would be covered by the notices.Under the new regulations, more SMEs would be liable for a fixed penalty fine of £110 if they did not keep the area around their building free of rubbish. Businesses would also have to prove they are providing ample facilities to allow their customers dispose of waste.Defra is worried that when the ban on smoking inside public buildings comes in to effect later this year, the amount of waste left on the street will drastically increase.As cigarette waste is already found at 79 per cent of all the sites that the agency surveyed in the last three years, it is hoping that, by making businesses take responsibility for the rubbish, it can cut the amount left on streets.Separately, Defra announced changes to regulations that could mean it is easier for local councils to get PFIs to fund projects which aim to deal with the country's waste.© Adfero Ltd