Funding granted to tackle sticky issue of chewing gum on pavements

Wirral Council has been awarded funding to help address the sticky issue of chewing gum being discarded irresponsibly on the borough’s streets.

A grant of £25,000 from the Chewing Gum Task Force will help the council clean up gum and reduce gum littering.

Wirral is one of 56 local authorities across the country that have successfully applied to the Chewing Gum Task Force, which was established by Defra and run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy.

It 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 an organisation called Behaviour Change, showed that in areas that received a grant last year, fewer incidents of gum littering were found six months after the clean-up and campaign was launched.

In Wirral, an initial six areas will be targeted for action, including Ford Road in Upton, Wallasey Village, King Street in Egremont, and parts of Old Chester Road and Pensby Road.

Cllr Liz Grey, Chair of the Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee for Wirral Council, said, “This kind of litter is a particularly difficult and relatively expensive thing to have to clean-up, so the additional funding and resources to help our environmental teams to tackle it is very welcome.

“It is especially encouraging that this campaign has the support of the major manufacturers in this industry as it shows some recognition that they have a role to play in educating consumers and challenging their behaviour, as well as just selling them their products.”

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.”

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