Suffolk and Essex receive funding to clean chewing gum on littered streets

Colchester street

The areas will receive grants of up to £70,000 to remove chewing gum stains - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Colchester, Ipswich and West Suffolk are among the first areas to receive funding from a new government initiative to crack down on high street chewing gum stains.

The areas will receive grants of up to £70,000 as part of the Chewing Gum Task Force. 

Established by Defra and run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, the Task Force aims to clean gum off pavements and put in measures to stop it from being dropped in the first place.

Cllr Martin Goss, portfolio holder for neighbourhood services & waste at Colchester Borough Council, said: “We will use the £20,000 awarded to purchase and maintain a dedicated vehicle to clean streets and pavements in and around the town centre.

“Gum litter is a disgrace and there really is no need for anyone to be littering now that we have special Gumdrop bins around the town centre."

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 87% of England’s streets are stained with gum.

Cllr Phil Smart, Ipswich Borough Council portfolio holder for the environment, said: “We have recently been awarded funding and are working on an awareness campaign for later in 2022 targeted at Ipswich waterfront and Ipswich Town Centre.

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"These are two areas that we have known problems with irresponsible chewing gum disposal, requiring frequent removal by our Ipswich Borough Council waste teams and we shall deliver these.”

Cllr Peter Stevens, West Suffolk Council portfolio holder for operations said he looked forward to putting the funding to good use and make the area's town centres "attractive and inviting places".

He said: "It is a step in the right direction that the producers are now involved in addressing an issue that blights our streets and which wastes money to clean up."

The funding announced today is the first tranche of a package worth up to £10 million from major gum manufacturers, 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: “Littering blights our towns and costs taxpayers money. Working with responsible gum manufacturers, we are now giving councils extra help to clean up our cities and towns.

“This means we can double down on regenerating our high streets, boosting local economies and levelling up communities across the country.”