Environmental Issues
Litter, Noise and Smells

A McDonald's outlet brings significant increases in litter to an area. Cooking and waste can cause offensive odours, and unsociable opening hours can bring noise and disturbance to local residents. The information below may be useful in substantiating these facts.

Below is the claim regarding litter that was submitted by McDonald's during their application for planning permission to covert the White Lion pub in East Grinstead into a drive-thru McDonald's. McDonald's claims are followed by a response from the "East Grinstead Coalition Against the McDonald's Plan".

McDonald's submission on litter:
    "McDonald's are very conscious of the problems litter creates and the attitude of some of its customers towards this. Apart from the provision of adequate litter bins in the restaurant and within the car park, frequent 'litter patrols' are undertaken by members of staff in the area surrounding the restaurant. During these patrols all litter, not just McDonald's litter, is collected."

    "On a national scale McDonald's work in close partnership with 'The Tidy Britain Group' on the 'Spring Clean Initiative' and the 'Bin it for Britain' nationwide tour. Both campaigns involve active litter collecting within the community by restaurant staff with youth groups and school children, and are designed to encourage good litter behaviour in young people."


    In the High Court, Professor Graham Ashworth, Director-General of the Tidy Britain Group ('TBG') and a McDonald's witness said that McDonald's sponsorship of the TBG amounted to around 200,000 per annum. He admitted that McDonald's was in the "top 1 or 2%" of all companies whose products end up as litter. He agreed that there were other problems with litter apart from the fact that people don't like looking at it. For example packaging, including polystyrene, "has been swallowed by animals in mistake for food", causing the wildlife to starve to death. Litter also ended up being blown from streets into rivers and the sea.

    Colin McIntyre (Press Officer of a London residents association) said that McDonald's initally carried out litter patrols two or three times a day, but this did not last. He said that despite continuous complaints to McDonald's, there had been no litter patrol down his street for two and a half years. Apart from the Council, the only people picking up litter were his neighbours. He added "I have seen one McDonald's litter cleaner, it was enough of a joke we all made a note of it in our diaries". He told how local residents associations were also angry about the store causing increased traffic, noise and cooking smells* and how they eventually set up an action group to consider legal action.

    * This is presently the subject of controversy in Guildford, that has been reported in the national press.

Other planning related issues:
Traffic Congestion, Parking and Safety
Employment McJobs and Redundancies

See also:
  • Guide to the Planning Applications - background information about the planning system.
  • Organising Objections - A brief summary of things to do.
  • Example letter of objection - to help you write your own letter.
  • Example campaign petition - helpfull for raising awareness.
  • Spoof McDriveThru application - to be used as a poster/flyer/notice.