Knowsley Council is putting plans in place to remove the chewing gum that blights local streets after receiving a £25,000 grant to tackle the issue.
A grant from the Chewing Gum Task Force, administered by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, will help the council clean up gum and reduce gum littering.
Knowsley is one of 56 councils across the country 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 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.
Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods said: “Chewing gum littering is a blight on our streets, has a detrimental impact on environmental quality and we all have to pay the extremely high cost of cleaning up afterwards, which is unacceptable. This funding will enable us to not only clean up areas where this is a particular issue, but also raise awareness of how to dispose of chewing gum in the correct way.”
Estimates suggest the annual clean-up cost of chewing gum for councils in the UK is around £7 million and, according to Keep Britain Tidy, around 77% of England’s streets and 99% of retail sites are stained with gum.
In its first year the task force awarded 44 grants worth a total of £1.2 million, benefitting 53 councils who were able to clean an estimated 2.5km2 of pavement, an area larger than 467 football pitches.
By combining targeted street cleaning with specially designed signage to encourage people to bin their gum, participating councils achieved reductions in gum littering of up to 80% in the first two months.
Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Keep Britain Tidy’s Chief Executive, said: “Chewing gum litter is highly visible on our high streets and is both difficult and expensive to clean up, so the support for councils provided by the Chewing Gum Task Force and the gum manufacturers is very welcome.
“However, once the gum has been cleaned up, it is vital to remind the public that when it comes to litter, whether it’s gum or anything else, there is only one place it should be – in the bin – and that is why the behaviour change element of the task force’s work is so important.”
Here’s more information about reporting littering, including chewing gum litter.