District Council awarded funding to tackle the sticky issue of chewing gum in Newark town centre

Posted on: Tuesday, July 11, 2023

A grant from the Chewing Gum Task Force, administered by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, will help Newark clean up gum and reduce gum littering.

Newark and Sherwood District Council is putting plans in place as part of the Cleaner, Safer, Greener strategy to remove the chewing gum that blights Newark town centre streets and is focusing on four main areas along Carter Gate, Stodman Street, St Marks Place and the Marketplace.

The District Council is one of 56 councils 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.

Councillor Paul Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection and Community Relations at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Gum can be a real eye-sore on our streets and not only does it look unpleasant, but it can be costly to clean up.”

“Thanks to this funding we’ll be able to clean areas that are most prone to this type of litter and we’ll be installing signage to encourage people from doing it in the first place. Those that litter gum should be aware of the harm it can do to our wildlife and community and there can be fines if you are caught littering like this.”

The project will be carried out over a three-month period with the District Council working alongside Newark Town Council to tackle the most affected areas. New specialised equipment and signage will be purchased using the £14,347 grant to help improve the cleanliness of the town centre.

Leader of Newark Town Council, Neil Ross said: “It is very important that we keep our streets clean from all litter, including gum. Our councils provide bins and the teams to empty them, as well as regularly cleaning up our pavements. We can all help, by simply using the bins provided, every time.”

Monitoring and evaluation carried out by Keep Britain Tidy partner Behaviour Change, has shown that in areas that benefitted last year a reduced rate of gum littering is still being observed six months after the clean-up and installation of prevention signage.

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.

Established by Defra and run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, 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.

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.”

In its first year the task force awarded 44 grants worth a total of £1.2 million, benefitting 53 councils who were able to clean an estimated 2.5km2 of pavement, an area larger than 467 football pitches.

By combining targeted street cleaning with specially designed signage to encourage people to bin their gum, participating councils achieved reductions in gum littering of up to 80% in the first two months.”

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.”