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Lewes District Council awarded funding to tackle the sticky issue of chewing gum on streets

Lewes District Council has successfully applied for a £25,000 grant to remove chewing gum that blights pavements in Lewes district.

Cllr Graham Clews and Cllr Wendy Maples Lead Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Wellbeing

Cllr Graham Clews and Cllr Wendy Maples Lead Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Wellbeing
Cllr Graham Clews and Cllr Wendy Maples
The council is one of 56 across the country to be awarded funds from the Chewing Gum Task Force, now in its second year, to clean chewing gum off pavements and prevent it from being littered again. 

Councillor Wendy Maples, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Wellbeing, said: "These funds are very welcome to help clear the chewing gum scourge.

"In the space of just one square metre at Lewes Railway Station we counted 55 pieces of chewing gum. Chewing gum littering is an eyesore, of course, but if you've ever had to pick and clip gum from a dog's paw, you'll know it's worse than that. Sticky chewing gum can also be a trip hazard for people with mobility difficulties.

"Alongside removing the gum that's been dropped, we will also be looking at methods to prevent chewing gum mess blemishing our streets in the future." 

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. 

Monitoring and evaluation carried out by 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." 

Published 24 July 2023

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