Funding awarded to tackle chewing gum on Aberdeen high street

The cash is set to be spent on cleaning chewing gum off of Union Street pavements
-Credit: (Image: Aberdeen City Council)


Aberdeen City Council is set to clean up chewing gum stuck to pavements along part of Union Street after receiving a funding boost,

A clean up of gum and an initiative to reduce gum littering in Aberdeen is to be helped by a grant from the UK-wide Chewing Gum Task Force.

Plans are being put in place to tackle the sticky issue after receiving £27,500 of funding. Estimates suggest the annual clean-up cost of gum for councils in the UK is about £7million.

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The council is one of 54 across the country which successfully applied to the Chewing Gum Task Force, now in its third year and administered by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, for funds to clean gum off pavements and prevent it from being littered again.

Co-Leader Councillor Ian Yuill said: "The removal of chewing gum from Union Street - made possible by this very welcome grant from the Chewing Gum Task Force - will make a real difference.

"I would though urge people to keep Union Street tidy and not litter it with chewing gum in the first place."

Established by Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, the Chewing Gum Task Force Grant Scheme is open to councils across the UK 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.

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."

The Task Force is funded by major gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle, with an investment of up to £10million spread over five years.

Monitoring and evaluation carried out by Behaviour Change – a not-for-profit social enterprise - has shown that in areas that benefited from the first year of funding, a reduced rate of gum littering was still being observed six months after clean-up and the installation of prevention materials.

In its second year, the task force awarded 55 councils a total of £1.56million, helping clean an estimated 440,000m2 of pavement - an area equivalent to the Vatican City.

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 60% in the first two months.