More than 40 local authorities across the UK to receive a share of the Chewing Gum Task Force grant scheme

More than 40 councils across the UK awarded grants of up to £70,000 from the Chewing Gum Task Force grant scheme to remove chewing gum stains.

Exeter, Birmingham, Sunderland, Swansea, Glasgow and Belfast are among the first winners of funding as part of the Government’s new Chewing Gum Task Force, helping to reinvigorate our country’s towns and cities by funding efforts to clean up streets.

Established by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (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 being dropped in the first place.

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.

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.

Funding will cover: 

o Grants of up £20,000 for councils including Leicester, Hull, Croydon, Southend, Lewisham and Colchester to purchase cleaning equipment as well as receiving signage to warn people not to litter gum – previous pilots run by Mars Wrigley and not-for-profit Behaviour Change using this signage have reduced gum littering by up to 64%.

o Long-term monitoring of gum litter levels and the effects of intervention for four councils including Belfast, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newport.

o £70,000 for several council partnerships – including Bury and Bolton, Camden and Brent, and Nottingham and Derby.

The fund forms part of the High Street Strategy to support the evolution and regeneration of high streets across the country, which includes 15 Town Deals totalling £335 million to fund community regeneration projects, the transformation of derelict buildings, and communities being given the chance to own local pubs, theatres, sports grounds and corner shops.

Future plans include a deposit return scheme for drinks containersextended producer responsibility for packaging and consistent recycling collections which will transform the way rubbish is managed. 

The full news story is available on the GOV.UK website, while Keep Britain Tidy has a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) item on the Fund, which may have further application rounds.