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Stoke-on-Trent City Council awarded funding to tackle the sticky issue of chewing gum on Hanley City Centre streets

Published: Friday, 7th July 2023

A grant from the Chewing Gum Task Force, administered by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, will help Stoke-on-Trent City Council clean up gum and reduce gum littering.

Stoke-on-Trent City 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.

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.

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 £1.65 million.

Councillor Amjid Wazir, cabinet member for environment and enforcement said: “This is another example of continuous work we are doing to tackle the accumulation of rubbish that builds all over our city. We want people to be proud of where they live and to take pride when they visit our towns and attractions. This funding will help to provide cleaner streets and aims to drive behaviour change to stop long-term littering. Monitoring this project will help us to understand the impacts this campaign will have on our streets.”

Monitoring and evaluation carried out by social enterprise 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.

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.

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.