Councils to receive £1.2m for chewing gum prevention

Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy has announced that 54 councils will receive a share of more than £1.2 million in grants to clean up chewing gum stains from streets.

Credit: Keep Britain Tidy

Councils will also be given signage to stop littering from happening in the first place.

Bristol, Walsall, Sunderland and Bury are said to all benefit from the third round of funding from the ‘Chewing Gum Task Force’.

Sticky situation

Keep Britain Tidy shared that councils spend around £7 million cleaning up littered gum, with around 77% of England’s streets and 99% of retail sites said to be stained as a result.

The Chewing Gum Task Force was established by Defra back in 2021, and is administered by Keep Britain Tidy, with funding from gum producers, including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle.

Together, the producers have pledged up to £10 million over five years via the scheme to tackle gum littering.


The latest round of funding will provide grants of up to £27,500 for cleansing or the purchasing cleaning equipment alongside a fully funded bespoke gum litter prevention package.

In its first two years, the task force said it awarded grants totalling approximately £2.5 million to almost 100 councils across the UK.

Monitoring and evaluation carried out by Behaviour Change – a not-for-profit social enterprise – found participating councils achieved reductions in gum littering of between 60% and 80% in the first two months.

Councils reported cleaning an estimated 440,000 m2 of pavements, and 100% of councils reported that their grant enabled them to “effectively tackle” gum litter.

‘Much-needed support’

Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive, said: “Gum litter makes streets look dirty and uncared for.

“Our own research shows three quarters of sites we surveyed are blighted by chewing gum staining, and we know that cleaning it up costs councils – and therefore council tax-payers – millions of pounds.

“That’s why we are delighted to be administering the third wave of this much-needed support for councils provided by the Chewing Gum Task Force.”

Naomi Jones, corporate affairs director at Mars Wrigley UK, said: “Mars Wrigley is proud to invest in litter prevention and education. The Task Force has already made significant progress, supporting almost 100 councils and cleaning nearly 3 million square metres of streets.”

Hayley Osborne, communications and sustainability manager at Perfetti Van Melle, said: “We’re witnessing positive changes in our streets and citizen behaviour. We’re excited to build on these successes in year three.”

In 2023, an independent evaluation of the scheme was carried out in four councils – Antrim & Newtownabbey, Cardiff, Doncaster and Glasgow. This suggested that, as a result of the street cleansing and subsequent prevention campaign, gum littering reductions of up to 60% were achieved.

In Leeds, a pavement coating was trialled that is designed to make it easier to clean – and sites were monitored to assess its effectiveness. While the standard intervention saw a 16% reduction in gum littering, the areas where the pavement coating had been applied saw a 31% reduction, indicating the coating was successful at helping prevent gum litter from sticking to the pavements.

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