Exeter gets money to tackle sticky problem on city streets

Chewing gum stains in Exeter’s High Street are set to be tackled thanks to the securing of major new funding.

New signage encouraging people to put their gum in the bins provided is set to go up along with high pressure cleaning of the stains left by chewing gum.

Exeter City Council is among the first councils to be awarded money from The Chewing Gum Task Force grant scheme; a brand-new fund to help clean chewing gum from the UK’s towns and cities.

The Chewing Gum Task Force was established by Defra and is run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. Exeter’s funding is part of the first tranche of a package worth up to £10 million from major gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle to tackle chewing gum stains – the investment will be spread over five years.

The funding awarded to Exeter will enable the City Council to carry out deep cleaning to remove chewing gum stains from the High street, and install new signage to encourage people to bin their gum in future. Previous pilots run by Mars Wrigley and not-for-profit Behaviour Change using this signage have reduced gum littering by up to 64%.

Cllr Amal Ghusain, Lead Councillor for City Management & Environmental Services, said: “We’re delighted to have received this funding from The Chewing Gum task force, which will help us tackle the ongoing problem of chewing gum staining and reinvigorate our city centre and public spaces.

“Cleansing will begin in early September and will take roughly eight weeks to complete. We hope that everyone will enjoy our newly cleaned streets and smart new signage!”

Around 87% of England’s streets are stained with gum, according to Keep Britain Tidy, and the estimated costs to councils is around £7million each year. The Chewing Gum Task Force grant fund represents a commitment from the Government and major gum manufacturers to work together to find long-term solutions to this issue.

Littering is a criminal offence and carries on-the-spot penalties of £150 in England.

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