£1.85m fund to tackle sticky situation caused by chewing gum staining
A new £1.85m scheme is helping five local authorities in Wales to tackle chewing gum staining.
The Welsh councils will receive funding this summer to help them clean gum off pavements and to invest in long-term preventative behaviour change.
Councils in Blaenau Gwent, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Newport and Swansea will benefit from the Chewing Gum Taskforce Grant Scheme as part of the bid to save the estimated £7 million annual clean-up costs across the UK.
Created last year by the UK Government and working together with Welsh Government, Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, the Chewing Gum Taskforce brings together the country’s major chewing gum producers, including Mars Wrigley, GlaxoSmithKline and Perfetti Van Melle, in a new partnership to remove gum litter from UK high streets.
Under the scheme, administered by independent environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, the chewing gum firms will invest up to £10m over five years.
More than 45 grants will be awarded this year across the UK and six of these will be used to fund innovative projects that encourage long-term behaviour change.
The fund will be opened to councils across the UK, with larger grants available for two or more councils working together to achieve greater impact.
The grants will consist of a cash award to fund street cleansing as well as access to a gum litter prevention package. Previous pilots have reduced gum littering by up to 64%.
Deputy Climate Change Minister Lee Waters said: “The need to get rid of chewing gum immediately after use means it is an item commonly disposed of irresponsibly, with gum staining present on more than two thirds of Wales’ streets.
“Cleaning streets of gum is expensive and labour intensive. I’m really pleased this new fund has been established to support Councils across Wales and encourage people to think about the issues caused by chewing gum litter”
Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “This is an exciting new opportunity for councils to tackle the ongoing problem of gum pollution.
“The grants will allow councils to clean up historic gum litter staining in our towns and cities, as well as taking action to prevent people littering in the first place.”
The Chewing Gum Taskforce Grant Scheme has awarded the following amounts to local authorities in Wales:
- Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council were awarded £20,000.00
- Denbighshire County Council were awarded £20,000.00
- Flintshire County Council were awarded £16,000.00
- Newport City Council were awarded £20,000.00
- Swansea Council were awarded £20,000.00
The Chewing Gum Task Force forms part of wider Welsh Government action to tackle litter and protect the environment.
This includes developing a new Litter & Fly-tipping Prevention Plan, introducing a new Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers and an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme for packaging.
Littering is a criminal offence and Welsh local authorities can issue penalties of up to £150, rising up to £2,500 if convicted in court.
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Cheaper to ban chewing gum? Hate the stuff.