The city council has received £24,960 to remove chewing gum which blights Oxford’s streets.

The Chewing Gum Task Force, which is administered by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, will help the city council clean up gum and reduce littering on a number of city centre streets.

These will include Magdalen Street, Broad Street, Cornmarket Street, Carfax and Castle Street.

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Oxford Mail: Oxford city centreOxford city centre (Image: Newsquest)

The city council has said it regularly receives complaints about chewing gum littering the streets from local residents, businesses and tourists.

Leader of the city council Susan Brown said: “Street cleansing happens regularly in Oxford but chewing gum requires specific spot and stain removal, so is a problem for most towns and cities.

“It would be really great if more people would dispose of their chewing gum responsibly in a bin rather than discarding it on our streets where it causes damage and increases our cleaning costs.

“This latest clean-up will boost a feeling of pride in our beautiful city centre and makes Oxford feel cleaner and more welcoming to visitors.”

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The task force, which has given the council nearly £25,000 to tackle the issue, is funded by major gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle, with the investment spread over five years.

This year the selected councils will receive funding which equates to more than £1.2 million.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “Littering blights our communities, spoils our countryside, harms our wildlife and wastes taxpayers’ money when cleaning it up.

“That’s why we’re working with gum producers to tackle chewing gum stains.

“After the success of the first round of funding, this next slice will give councils further support to clean up our towns and cities.”

In the first year of grant funding, 53 councils benefitted, and this enabled them to clean an estimated 2.5km2 of pavement which is an area equivalent to 467 football pitches.

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Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive, said: “Chewing gum litter is highly visible on our high streets and is both difficult and expensive to clean up, so the support for councils provided by the Chewing Gum Task Force and the gum manufacturers is very welcome.

“However, once the gum has been cleaned up, it is vital to remind the public that when it comes to litter, whether it’s gum or anything else, there is only one place it should be – in the bin – and that is why the behaviour change element of the task force’s work is so important.”

Jason Eldridge, director of environmental services at ODS, said estimates suggest that the annual clean up cost of chewing gum for councils was around £7 million and according to Keep Britain Tidy, around 77 per cent of England’s streets and 99 per cent of retail sites are stained with gum.

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