Councils awarded grant to tackle sticky situation caused by chewing gum

Cllr McAndrew with chewing gum cleaning machine
East and North Herts councils have been awarded £60k from the Chewing Gum Task Force to tackle chewing gum pollution in our town centres.

The funding enables the councils to carry out more deep cleaning to remove chewing gum from pavements in our town centres, and to install new signage to encourage long-term behaviour change.

The Chewing Gum Task Force, established by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is run by environmental charity, Keep Britain Tidy. Chewing gum litter wastes millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money every year; the annual clean-up cost across the UK is estimated at £7 million.

The clean-up in East Herts started earlier this month in Buntingford.  East Herts Council’s Executive Member for Sustainability, Cllr Graham McAndrew, visited the town to see the results for himself and said: 

“This funding from the Chewing Gum task force is enabling us to embark on a clean-up exercise to remove unsightly gum from town centres and public spaces across East Herts and the results already seen in Buntingford show what a difference this will make.  

Fixed penalty notices can be issued for littering, which includes chewing gum, and I hope the increased signage will encourage people to change their habits and bin their gum, not drop it on the floor or stick it to other unsuitable locations.  

“The clean-up won’t be a quick process. It’s anticipated it will take a few months to complete, but once we’re gum free, I hope residents will play their part and help keep the streets and open spaces in East Herts clear of unsightly sticky chewing gum.”

The damage and staining from chewing gum costs councils in the UK millions each year. The Chewing Gum Task Force grant fund represents a commitment from the Government and major gum manufacturers to work together to find long-term solutions to this issue.