A Dundee councillor has suggested that Dundee City Council should seek available funding to tackle the mess left on Dundee pavements by chewing gum.
This follows another Scottish council - South Lanarkshire Council - securing more than £24,000 in funding from the Chewing Gum Task Force, established by Defra and run by 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.
It has allowed South Lanarkshire Council to carry out targeted street cleaning and put up special signage urging people to bin their gum. Recent research has found that areas benefitting from the scheme still saw a reduction in gum littering six months on.
Strathmartine Liberal Democrat Councillor Daniel Coleman said :
“Our group’s concern about the state of our streets goes wider than the mess left by gum as we want to see greater resource into street-cleaning generally.”
However, there’s no doubt that the mess left by chewing gum continues to blight our neighbourhoods, so applying for this external funding would allow us to carry on with our programme of removing gum from our streets and open spaces.”
“The funding from the Chewing Gum Task Force will not only help with purchasing specialist cleaning equipment but will also allow Dundee City Council to target behaviour and encourage everyone to put gum in the bin – not on our streets.”
Dundee’s Liberal Democrat Group has been in discussion with South Lanarkshire Council’s Liberal Democrat Chair of the Community and Enterprise Resources committee, Councillor Robert Brown, who advised of the benefits of applying for funding to get rid of chewing gum off our pavements and running a media campaign to highlight the issue to promote good practice.
Research conducted by BehaviourChange.org 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 across the UK, benefiting 53 councils who were able to clean up an estimated 2.5 square kilometres 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.”
Councillor Coleman concluded, “It makes a lot of sense that Dundee City Council applies for this funding too and the Liberal Democrat Group on the council has written to the Head of Environment asking that the department takes this forward.