United Kingdom

New funding to remove chewing gum from our high streets

A new Government drive to crack down on litter on our high streets has been launched today (August 6), with more than 40 UK councils offering grants of up to £70,000 to remove gum marks.

Exeter, Birmingham, Sunderland, Swansea, Glasgow and Belfast are among the first to win funding as part of the Government’s new gum taskforce, which is helping to revitalize our country’s towns and cities by funding street cleaning efforts.

Set up by Defra and run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, the Task Force aims to clean up pavements and take action to stop it from falling in the first place.

Estimates show that the annual cost of cleaning up gum is around £7 million for UK councils, and according to Keep Britain Tidy, around 87% of England’s streets are stained with gum.

The funding announced today is the first installment of a package worth up to £10m from major chewing gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle to tackle gum stains; investments will be distributed over five years.

Environment Minister George Eustis said.

Litter blights our cities and costs taxpayers. Working with responsible chewing gum manufacturers, we are now providing extra help to councils to clean up our towns and cities.

This means we can double our high street, boosting local economies and leveling up communities across the country.

Funding will include:

  • Grants of up to £20,000 for councils including Leicester, Hull, Croydon, Southend, Lewisham and Colchester to purchase cleaning equipment and signs to warn people not to litter their gums; Using this plaque reduced gum waste by up to 64%.
  • Long-term monitoring of gum litter levels and intervention effects for four councils including Belfast, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newport.
  • £70,000 for several council partnerships including Bury and Bolton, Camden and Brent, Nottingham and Derby.

Alison Ogden-Newton OBE, Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy said:

This is an exciting new opportunity for councils to tackle the ongoing problem of gum contamination.

The grants will enable councils to clean up historic chewing gum litter in our towns and cities, and take action to prevent people littering in the first place.

Ana Baptista, director of corporate affairs at Mars Wrigley UK, said:

Mars Wrigley has invested in anti-litter campaigns across the UK for many years. Through our partnership with Behavior Change, we have developed interventions proven to reduce gum litter that have already been used by over 100 councils.

We are delighted to see these deployed as part of the Gum Task Force grant scheme and look forward to many more tips.

Hayley Osborne, Communications and Sustainability Manager at Perfetti Van Melle, said:

As a manufacturer of chewing gum products, we are aware of the unfortunate impact our products can have on towns and cities. Working with industry peers, councils and customers, we can also help be part of the solution by helping to clean up our streets and educating consumers on the importance of safe gum disposal.

In addition, we are also working on our own campaigns to support our customers with on-pack signage and labeling to help work towards a circular, long-term solution.

This is part of Prime Minister High Street A strategy to support the evolution and regeneration of the high street across the country which includes 15 City transactions a total of £335m to fund community regeneration projects, transform derelict buildings and enable communities to own local pubs, theatres, sports grounds and corner shops.

Littering is a criminal offense and the UK government has already strengthened the enforcement powers of local authorities, increasing on-the-spot fines for littering in England to £150. Councils can also take offenders to court, which can lead to fines of up to £2,500 if found guilty.

Through the Environment Act, the Government will be able to ensure that enforcement powers are used with high professionalism, whether by council staff or private contractors, and will put our improved enforcement guidance on a firm statutory footing.

This is part of wider government action to tackle litter and protect our environment. We plan to launch a beverage container deposit refund scheme, extended producer responsibility for packaging and: consistent processing sets which will change the way we deal with waste.

New funding to remove chewing gum from our high streets

SourceNew funding to remove chewing gum from our high streets

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