New government action to crack down on litter on our high streets was announced today (6 August), with more than 40 councils across the UK awarding grants of up to £70,000 to eliminate littering chewing gum stains.
Exeter, Birmingham, Sunderland, Swansea, Glasgow and Belfast are among the first recipients of funding under the Government’s new Chewing Gum Task Force, which is helping to reinvigorate cities across our country by funding cleanup efforts streets.
Created by Defra and run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, the task force aims to clean gum from pavements and put in place measures to stop it falling in the first place.
Estimates suggest the annual cost of cleaning chewing gum for councils in the UK is around £7million and according to Keep Britain Tidy around 87% of streets in England are stained with gum.
The funding announced today is the first installment of a package worth up to £10m from leading gum makers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle to tackle chewing gum stains – the investment will be spread over five years.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
Litter ravages our cities and costs taxpayers money. Together with responsible gum makers, we are now giving councils extra help to clean up our towns and villages.
This means we can redouble our efforts to regenerate our main streets, boost local economies and improve communities across the country.
The funding will cover:
- Grants of up to £20,000 for councils such as Leicester, Hull, Croydon, Southend, Lewisham and Colchester to buy cleaning equipment and receive signs warning people not to litter gum – previous pilots led by Mars Wrigley and the nonprofit Behavior Change use of this signage has reduced gum waste by up to 64%.
- Long-term monitoring of gum waste levels and the effects of intervention for four councils including Belfast, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newport.
- £70,000 for several consultancy partnerships – including Bury and Bolton, Camden and Brent, and Nottingham and Derby.
Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said:
This is an exciting new opportunity for councils to tackle the persistent problem of gum pollution.
The grants will allow councils to clean up historic gum litter spots in our towns and cities, as well as take action to stop people littering in the first place.
Ana Baptista, General Affairs Manager, Mars Wrigley UK, said:
Mars Wrigley has invested in anti-littering campaigns across the UK for many years. Through our partnership with Behavior Change, we have developed proven interventions to reduce gum waste that have already been used by over 100 councils.
We’re excited to see them deployed as part of the Chewing Gum Task Force grant program and look forward to having many more councils on board.
Hayley Osborne, Communications and Sustainability Manager for Perfetti Van Melle, said:
As a manufacturer of gum products, we are aware of the unfortunate impact our products can have on cities and towns. By working with industry peers, councils and customers, we can also help to be part of the solution, helping to clean up our streets and educating consumers on the importance of safe gum disposal. .
Additionally, we are also working on our own campaigns to support our customers, with signage and labeling on packaging to help work towards a long-term circular solution.
It’s part of the Prime Minister’s High Street strategy to support the evolution and regeneration of high streets across the country, which includes 15 city deals totaling £335m to fund community regeneration projects, the transformation of abandoned buildings and communities. to own local pubs, theatres, sports fields and convenience stores.
Littering is a criminal offence, and the UK government has already boosted the enforcement powers of local authorities by increasing on-site penalties for littering to £150 in England. Councils can also take offenders to court, which can result in a fine of up to £2,500 if convicted.
Through the Environment Act, the government will be able to ensure that enforcement powers are used with a high degree of professionalism, whether by council staff or private contractors, and place our guidelines for application on a solid statutory basis.
This is part of a broader government action to fight waste and protect our environment. We plan to launch a deposit system for beverage containers, extended producer responsibility for packaging and consistent recycling collections that will transform the way we deal with our waste.