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Should sweet makers pay millions to help remove chewing gum from Ipswich streets?

PUBLISHED: 09:57 15 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:27 15 April 2017

Shoppers in Ipswich town centre on January 2, 2017.

Shoppers in Ipswich town centre on January 2, 2017.

Archant

Confectioners are facing calls to help rid British high streets of discarded chewing gum.

File photo of a council worker cleaning gum from a pavement. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA WireFile photo of a council worker cleaning gum from a pavement. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Councils in England and Wales want the sweet making industry to contribute towards the £60million-a-year cost of removing gum from roads and pavements.

The problem, which costs the council 10p for each piece of gum they clean up, has escalated in towns like Ipswich over the past few years.

Nationally, a Keep Britain Tidy study found 99% of shopping streets and 64% of all roads and pavements in England and Wales were stained by gum.

While the average piece of gum costs around 3p to buy, the Local Government Association (LGA) said it costs councils up to 50 times that, £1.50, to clean up a square metre of pavement.

Because most gum currently sold is not biodegradable, once it is trodden into the surface it needs to be removed using specialist equipment.

LGA environment spokeswoman Judith Blake said: “Chewing gum is a plague on our pavements. It’s ugly, it’s unsightly and it’s unacceptable.

“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.”

Tell us – is there a problem in Ipswich? Share your views by commenting below or email emily.townsend@archant.co.uk

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