By Deirdre Tynan • 30 August 2021 • 8:30
Major chewing gum producers, brought together by government, have signed up to a new £10 million partnership to remove gum litter from Britain’s high streets, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow has announced.
The scheme, including Mars Wrigley, GlaxoSmithKline and Perfetti Van Melle and managed by independent charity Keep Britain Tidy, will see gum firms invest up to £10 million over the next five years to help reduce gum litter.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said, “The stains of discarded chewing gum are a blight on our communities, spoiling our streets and wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.
“This new scheme means chewing gum producers are not only helping to clean up towns and cities as they welcome people back to our high streets, but crucially taking action to prevent people littering in the first place.
“We are committed to building back better and greener and this commitment to making town centres a more attractive and inviting place is a key part of our long-term strategy to breathe new life into our communities,” she added on August 30.
Chewing gum litter wastes millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money every year; the annual clean-up cost is estimated at £7 million. Around 87 per cent of England’s streets are stained with gum, according to research by Keep Britain Tidy.
The investment, starting later this year, will be used to clean up historic gum litter staining and use behavioural interventions to encourage people to bin their gum. Previous pilots have reduced gum littering by up to 64 per cent.
Littering is a criminal offence and the Government has already empowered local authorities by increasing on-the-spot penalties for offenders to £150, rising to up to £2,500 if convicted in court. The Government is seeking powers in the Environment Bill to ensure that enforcement powers are used with a high degree of professionalism, whether by council staff or private contractors, and to place our improved enforcement guidance on a firm statutory footing.
The Task Force is part of the Government’s new 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.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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