Plans in place to tackle the sticky issue of chewing gum on Mid Ulster’s streets

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Mid Ulster District Council is putting plans in place to remove the chewing gum that blights local streets after receiving a £25K grant to tackle the issue.

The council is one of 56 across the country that have successfully applied to the Chewing Gum Task Force, now in its second year, for funds to clean gum off pavements and prevent it from being littered again.

Established by Defra 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.

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The Task Force is funded by major gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle, with the investment spread over five years. This year the selected councils will receive funding totalling more than £1.2 million.

Mid Ulster District Council Chairperson Cllr Oliver Molloy. Credit: Mid Ulster CouncilMid Ulster District Council Chairperson Cllr Oliver Molloy. Credit: Mid Ulster Council
Mid Ulster District Council Chairperson Cllr Oliver Molloy. Credit: Mid Ulster Council

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.

Chair of the Council, Councillor Dominic Molloy has welcomed the funding from the chewing gum task force saying: “We spend in excess of £1.7M every year on cleaning, with the removal of unsightly chewing gum on our local footpaths and streets contributing to this figure.

"Therefore I am delighted that the Council was successful in its grant application to the task force. While I wish to remind residents that chewing gum should not be disposed of on the ground in the first place, this funding will help us clean up the areas in Mid Ulster that have fallen victim to this unpleasant and unnecessary blight.”

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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.

“In its first year the task force awarded 44 grants worth a total of £1.2 million, benefitting 53 councils who were able to clean an estimated 2.5km2 of pavement, an area larger than 467 football pitches."