Council awarded funding to tackle sticky issue of chewing gum on county borough’s streets

Bridgend County Borough Council is putting plans in place to remove the chewing gum that blights local streets after receiving a grant for just over £12,000 to tackle the issue.

The local authority is one of only 56 councils across the UK that have successfully applied to the Chewing Gum Task Force, now in its second year, for funds to clean gum off pavements and prevent it from being littered again.

Established by Defra and run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, the Chewing Gum Task Force Grant Scheme is open to councils across the UK who wish to clean up gum in their local areas and invest in long-term behaviour change to prevent gum from being dropped in the first place.

The Task Force is funded by major gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle, with the investment spread over five years. This year the selected councils will receive funding totalling more than £1.2 million.

Monitoring and evaluation carried out by Behaviour Change, a not-for-profit social enterprise, has shown that in areas that benefitted last year, a reduced rate of gum littering is still being observed six months after clean-up and the installation of prevention materials.

Estimates suggest the annual clean-up cost of chewing gum for councils in the UK is around £7 million.

UK Government Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Littering blights our communities, spoils our countryside, harms our wildlife, and wastes taxpayers’ money when cleaning it up. That’s why we’re working with gum producers to tackle chewing gum stains.

“After the success of the first round of funding, this next slice will give councils further support to clean up our towns and cities.”

Cabinet Member for Climate Change and the Environment, Cllr John Spanswick said: “We welcome the support from Welsh and UK Government and Keep Britain Tidy, as part of the Chewing Gum Task Force.

“The funding will allow us to purchase four machines to help tackle the removal of chewing gum litter from streets across our communities.

“We would hope that the clean-up of chewing gum stains and litter will encourage residents across the county borough to place litter in the bin, where it belongs, rather than on our streets.”