Town pavements ‘littered’ with chewing gum and Ipswich Borough Council foots the cleaning bill

Chewing gum is expensive to clean from roads and pavements. PICTURE: Johnny Green/PA.

Chewing gum is expensive to clean from roads and pavements. PICTURE: Johnny Green/PA. - Credit: PA

Discarded chewing gum has been dubbed a blight on the streets of Ipswich as sweet manufacturers face growing pressure to help with the cost of cleaning it up.

The Local Government Association (LGA) is calling for the confectionary industry to contribute towards the £60million-a-year bill of prising gum from roads and pathways.

While the average piece of gum costs around 3p to buy, the LGA said it costs councils up to 50 times that to remove it.

Ipswich borough councillor Inga Lockington said sweet firms should “definitely” take more responsibility.

She added: “When you go into Ipswich you can see outside nightclubs the pavements are littered with spots and it’s so horrible if you tread it into your car or carpet. It’s horrible stuff.

“I actually do think there should be an extra tax [for manufacturers] to help with cleaning it up.

“Local government gets less and less money towards keeping the town clean so we do need to think about how else we can get money.”

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LGA also urged makers to switch to biodegradable gums which are easier to shift.

It comes after Keep Britain Tidy found 99% of main shopping streets and 64% of all roads and pavements were stained by gum.

Councillor Julian Gibbs, chairman of the central Ipswich committee, said: “It blights an area if you see a lot of it and it’s annoying.

“There’s a cost to clear it up and that will ultimately fall on the local authority and at this time of austerity, which we are still in, it’s a nuisance and it’s something we would rather not see much of.”

Ipswich Star readers have shared their views on the issue.

Stephen Ellis said: “Why not fine people that think it’s acceptable to just spit it out? And the cigarette end flickers for that matter. I chew gum but I’ll go out of my way to bin it. It’s certainly a blight in Ipswich town centre.”

José López Lerena added: “It’s a huge problem and makes the streets look dirty but I don’t think the sweet shops are at fault. I think police should punish people who throw gum on the streets.”

Julie Stammers said those who discard of their gum on the floor should be fined.

LGA environment spokeswoman Judith Blake said councils had no legal obligation to clear up gum.

She added: “The industry needs to go a lot further, faster, in tackling this issue.”

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