How residents can make a big difference in making streets gum free

Posted on: Thursday, November 9, 2023

Newark and Sherwood District Council is asking residents to help in their campaign to keep gum off the streets and to dispose of it in the appropriate way.

Back in July, the District Council joined forces with Newark Town Council to apply for a grant from the Chewing Gum Task Force, administered by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy.

Since being awarded the grant, they’ve invested in specialised cleaning equipment and helped remove chewing gum that blights Newark town centre streets on Carter Gate, Stodman Street, St Marks Place and the Marketplace.

The District Council was one of 56 councils across the country that successfully applied to the Chewing Gum Task Force, now in its second year.

Councillor Emma Oldham, Portfolio Holder for Biodiversity and Environmental Services at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Gum can be a real eye-sore on our streets and not only does it look unpleasant, but it can be costly to clean up.

“Thanks to this funding we’ve be able to clean up areas that are most prone to this type of litter and we’ve installed signage to deter this behaviour. Those that litter gum should be aware of the harm it can cause to our wildlife – which they often mistake as small pieces of food and ingest.

“You can be fined £150 for this type of littering. Residents have a real sense of pride where they live, so I encourage everyone to work together to support these cleaning efforts, follow the signs and to dispose of gum correctly.”

Leader of Newark Town Council, Neil Ross said: “It is very important that we keep our streets clean from all litter, including gum. Our councils provide bins and the teams to empty them, as well as regularly cleaning up our pavements. We can all help, by simply using the bins provided, every time.”

Joshua Lacey, age 12 from Newark finds gum littering a blight on our community, he said: “Gum on the street is disgusting.  I’m glad that there has been money spent on cleaning it up but it shouldn’t need to have happened in the first place.  There are so many bins in our town centre that should actually be used and not the floor.”

Monitoring and evaluation carried out by Keep Britain Tidy partner Behaviour Change, has shown that in areas that benefitted last year a reduced rate of gum littering is still being observed six months after the clean-up and installation of prevention signage.

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 77% of England’s streets and 99% of retail sites are stained with gum.

Established by Defra and run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, the Chewing Gum Task Force Grant Scheme was opened 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.

A video of Councillor Paul Taylor, Portfolio for Public Protection and Community Relations speaking about the campaign can be found here: