Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is among the first councils to be awarded funding 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.
The funding announced today is 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 Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will enable them to carry out deep cleaning to remove chewing gum stains from Ballymena, Larne and Carrickfergus streets, 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 has reduced gum littering by up to 64%.
Alderman Noel Williams, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim 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 town centres and public spaces.
“Cleansing will begin around late-August and will take roughly 3 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 £80 in Northern Ireland.