A north-south divide exists in the tidiness of England's streets, an Encams survey has revealed.
All three predominantly urban, northern areas came in the bottom half of the Local Environment Quality Survey league table 2003/4, while five of the top six regions were in the south and Midlands.
But a clean sweep for the south was ruined by London's shocking performance - the capital came bottom of the table with a rating 14 points behind its nearest rival.
The more rural east of England was the cleanest part of the country with a rating of 72%, while London came bottom with just 43%.
The survey found that standards across the UK increased by 4% in the past year, with 44% of areas now deemed good or satisfactory.
But junk food litter had become an increasing problem despite these falling overall levels of street mess.
The number of areas blighted by drinks cans rose 34% from 2001/2 to 2003/4 while the percentage of places affected by snack packaging grew by 18%.
Encams measured almost 12,000 sites across the UK, ranging from council estates to industrial parks and leafy suburbs.
High-density neighbourhoods were some of the dirtiest areas found, while parks and picnic areas were among the cleanest.
Secretary of State for the Environment Margaret Beckett said: "This survey provides important evidence showing where clean-up action is needed, and where resources should be targeted.
"I'm pleased the overall picture has improved on last year but everyone needs to recognise that more needs to be done and can be done by central Government and local authorities with existing resources."
2 South east 63%
3 West Midlands 62%
4 South west 60%
5 East Midlands 60%
6 North west 60%
7 Yorkshire 58%
8 North east 57%
9 London 43%