Councils awarded £60k for gum busting clean up

West Suffolk Council and Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are among the first of 40 council areas to receive cash from chewing gum manufacturers to help remove the mess left when gum is spat onto the street.

The money comes from a fund established by the Government’s Chewing Gum Task Force, established with major gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle, to tackle chewing gum stains.

The successful £59,940 bid was made jointly by the three councils. It will pay for specialised equipment that will leave paving close to its original condition, training for staff, and measures to stop gum being dropped in the first place.

Peter Stevens, cabinet member for operations at West Suffolk Council, said: “We have made protecting the environment a priority and this is a great opportunity to tackle gum pollution which is a blight we use precious resources to clean up. Behaviour change is a big part of this campaign. We’ll be displaying proven signage in freshly cleaned areas and measuring how effective it is. Initially we are targeting high-traffic hotspots then moving on to work to a district wide programme.

“This builds on work we did in all our town centres over the winter/spring using Welcome Back funding. That saw £55,000 of work by contractors to help reinvigorate our high streets after lockdown. I’m very pleased that our partnership working with Babergh and Mid Suffolk meant we were able to successfully bid for a higher level of funding which means we’ll now have this specialist equipment to use.”

Jessica Fleming, cabinet member for environment at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “Being awarded this funding is testament to our continued partnership working across Suffolk. We already work closely together through the Suffolk Waste Partnership, and with these funds we can continue to keep our district clean and tidy, while helping to tackle littering behaviour at source to ensure Mid Suffolk remains a place people are proud to call home.”

And Elisabeth Malvisi, cabinet member for environment at Babergh District Council, added: “Littering, including dropping gum, not only causes issues for wildlife, but is also an unsightly addition to our high streets and footpaths which uses precious resources to remove. We’re pleased we’ve been able to jointly secure this funding, supported by major gum manufacturers, to help clean up littered gum in Babergh and shift behaviour for years to come.”

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