South Lanarkshire Council has received over £20,000 to rid the streets of chewing gum.

The council successfully applied to the Chewing Gum Task Force and received £24,614 to clean gum off pavements and prevent it from being littered again. 

The Task Force is now in its second year and is funded by major gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle with the investment spread over five years. 

It was established by Defra and is run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, the grant scheme is open to councils across the UK who want to clean up gum in their local area and invest in long-term behaviour change to prevent gum from being dropped in the first place.

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Councillor Robert Brown (Rutherglen South), chair of the Community and Enterprise Resources committee, said:  “Receiving this grant for a second year running will again provide us with vital funding to tackle the continuing problem of gum across South Lanarkshire.

“This problem continues to blight our neighbourhoods so this external funding will allow us to carry on with our programme of removing gum from our streets and open spaces.

“This removal work will complement our ongoing programme of tackling litter and other anti-social behaviour that unfortunately wastes a lot of time and money the council could be using for other activities to benefit our communities and in a far more constructive way.

“The funding from the Chewing Gum Task Force will not only help with purchasing specialist cleaning equipment but will also allow us to target behaviour and encourage everyone to put gum in the bin – not on our streets.”

Research conducted by found that in areas that benefitted last year, a reduction of gum littering is still being observed six months after clean-up and the installation of prevention materials.

And estimates show that the annual clean-up cost of chewing gum for councils in the UK is around £7 million. 

In its first year, the task force awarded 44 grants worth a total of £1.2 million, benefiting 53 councils that were able to clean up an estimated 2.5 sq km 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 per cent 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.”