Chewing gum firms urged to contribute towards street-cleaning costs

November 24th, 2014 Category: Local Authority & Housing

Local authorities across the UK have called for the introduction of a new law that would see chewing gum manufacturers charged to help clear their products off the streets.

A report published by the Local Government Association (LGA) said that such firms should contribute to the £60 million cleaning bill to pick up chewing gum from pavements.

The LGA claimed that the chewing gum industry – worth millions of pounds – is partly responsible for the pollution.

Commenting on the findings, Peter Box, LGA environment spokesman and councillor, said: "Chewing gum is a blight which costs councils a fortune to clean up and takes hours of hard work to remove. It's ugly, it's unsightly and it's unacceptable. The UK gum industry is a multimillion-pound business and we believe in the principle of the "polluter" paying.

"The chewing gum giants should be making a substantial contribution to help with the sterling work that councils are doing in removing it. They are doing the right thing but unfortunately the manufacturers are not".

Mr Box also called upon manufacturers to create biodegradable chewing gum that is easier to remove from the pavements.

Figures published by the LGA showed that the average piece of gum costs about three pence to buy, but around £1.50 – fifty times that price – to clear away.

Mr Box added that although the anti-littering campaign launched by chewing gum companies was welcome, it was still not enough to curb the problem.

Figures published by Westminster Council showed that nearly three million pieces are dropped on the streets in the West End each year.

Ed Argar, Westminster Council's cabinet member for city management, transport and infrastructure, said that chewing gum wastes a huge amount of local authority resources due to the manpower that is required to help clean it up.

He added: "Something needs to change if we are to find a real and lasting solution to the problem, rather than just dealing with the consequences."