Derry Council awarded funding to tackle chewing gum problem

Chewing gum on the path.
Chewing gum on the path.

A grant from the Chewing Gum Task Force, administered by environmental charity, Keep Britain Tidy, will go towards DCSDC’s ongoing efforts to clean up gum and reduce gum littering.

Council is putting plans in place to remove the chewing gum that blights local streets after receiving a £12,000 grant. A targeted operation will be rolled out, initially on Foyle Street, Derry, from Monday 2nd October 2023.

Conor Canning, Head of Environment at Derry City and Strabane District Council, welcomed the news and said they were committed to tackling the ongoing issue.

“Chewing gum litter has been an issue across our council area for many years and as you would imagine, it is a time-consuming and costly operation to remove it. As a council, we are delighted to welcome this specific grant from Keep Britain Tidy and will use to create a targeted operation that will tackle the problem with specific Gum Removal machinery.

“We will also be working closely with our internal teams to roll out a city and district wide campaign to encourage the public to become more aware of how to dispose of their chewing gum and the lasting effect it has on their own council area.”

Established by Defra and run by Keep Britain Tidy, the Chewing Gum Task Force Grant Scheme is open to councils across the country who wish to clean up gum in their local areas and invest in long-term behaviour change to prevent gum from being dropped in the first place.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Littering blights our communities, spoils our countryside, harms our wildlife and wastes taxpayers’ money when cleaning it up. That’s why we’re working with gum producers to tackle chewing gum stains.

“After the success of the first round of funding, this next slice will give councils further support to clean up our towns and cities.”

The Chewing Gum Task Force Grant Scheme is funded by major gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle, with the investment spreading over five years. A total fund of £1.2 million will be distributed to selected councils in 2023.

Estimates suggest the annual clean-up cost of chewing gum for councils in the UK is around £7 million. Monitoring and evaluation carried out by Behaviour Change has shown that in areas that benefitted last year, a reduced rate of gum littering is still being observed six months after clean-up and the installation of prevention materials.

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.”

For more information on waste and recycling in the Derry City and Strabane District area, please visit