Chewing gum makers 'should help clean up'

Chewing gum makers should help pay for the growing cost of removing their product from the country's streets, councils have said.

Almost all main shopping streets and 64% of all roads and pavements are stained by chewing gum, according to Keep Britain Tidy.

And, while the average piece of gum costs just 3p, it costs councils up to 50 times that to clean up every square metre of pavement.

The Local Government Association has said it is time the chewing gum industry paid its share of the £60m-a-year cost of cleaning up the streets of England and Wales.

They are also encouraging gum manufacturers to switch to biodegradable forms of gum which do not require specialist equipment to remove from pavements.

LGA environment spokeswoman Judith Blake said chewing gum had become "a plague on our pavements".

She added: "At a time when councils face considerable ongoing funding pressures, this is a growing cost pressure they could do without.

"It is therefore reasonable to expect chewing gum manufacturers to help more, both by switching to biodegradable gum and by contributing to the cost of clearing it up.

"Councils have no legal obligation to clear up the gum.

"They do it for the benefit of their shoppers, town centre users, businesses and residents; to make the pavements more attractive and the environment better.

"Councils want to work with the industry to find solutions to this ongoing problem.

"The industry needs to go a lot further, faster, in tackling this issue."