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Rushcliffe Borough Council welcomes £25,000 funding to clear chewing gum hot spots

Last updated: 6/7/2023

A grant from the Chewing Gum Task Force, administered by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, will help Rushcliffe Borough Council clean up gum and reduce gum littering across the Borough with an initial focus on larger towns and villages.

The Authority is putting plans in place to remove the gum that blights local streets in Bingham, Cotgrave, East Leake, Keyworth, Ruddington, Radcliffe on Trent and West Bridgford town centres after receiving a £25,000 grant to tackle the issue.

The funding has enabled the Council’s Streetwise team to extend their work to prevent the issue, purchasing three fully electric gum removal machines that will safely remove chewing gum whilst being kinder to the environment.

The Council is one of 56 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. 

Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environment and Safety Cllr Rob Inglis said: “We’re delighted our funding application was successful and we are now clearing areas that are spoilt by chewing gum.

“It creates an eyesore and it can stick to footwear and clothing, and we want to encourage people to bin their gum, there are no excuses.

“Our three new eco-friendly gum removal machines are a fantastic asset for our cleansing team who are now fully trained in using the equipment. The machines are fully electric which aligns with our Carbon Clever priorities to further protect the environment.”

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.

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.”

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.”