Ipswich to receive funding to clear high street chewing gum stains

Ipswich high street

The town will receive a grant of up to £70,000 to clear the streets' chewing gum stains - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ipswich is among the first areas to receive funding from a new government initiative to crack down on high street chewing gum stains.

The town will receive a grant of up to £70,000 as part of the Chewing Gum Task Force with focus on the town centre and waterfront. 

Established by Defra and run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, the Task Force aims to clean gum off pavements and put in measures to stop it being dropped in the first place.

Cllr Phil Smart, Ipswich Borough Council portfolio holder for the environment, said: “We have recently been awarded funding and are working on an awareness campaign for later in 2022 targeted at Ipswich waterfront and Ipswich Town Centre.

"These are two areas that we have known problems with irresponsible chewing gum disposal, requiring frequent removal by our Ipswich Borough Council waste teams and we shall deliver these.”

Chris Barnard, head of place at Ipswich Central, commented: "We are really pleased to see Ipswich has received funding for additional street cleaning to remove chewing gum stains in the town centre. I hope the Government is able to make more funding available to Ipswich Borough Council for additional cleaning initiatives like this in the future."

Estimates suggest the annual clean-up cost of chewing gum for councils in the UK is around £7 million and according to Keep Britain Tidy, around 87% of England’s streets are stained with gum.

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The funding announced today is the first tranche of a package worth up to £10 million from major gum manufacturers, including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle, to tackle chewing gum stains.

The investment will be spread over five years.

Colchester and west Suffolk were also chosen to receive funding.

Cllr Peter Stevens, portfolio holder for operations at West Suffolk Council, said: "I look forward to putting the funding to good use as part of our ongoing commitment to making our town centres attractive and inviting places.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “Littering blights our towns and costs taxpayers money. Working with responsible gum manufacturers, we are now giving councils extra help to clean up our cities and towns.

“This means we can double down on regenerating our high streets, boosting local economies and levelling up communities across the country.”