03 Aug 2023

Council awarded funding to tackle the sticky issue of chewing gum on Leeds's streets

Bin collections/waste services

Leeds City Council is collaborating with Keep Britain Tidy to trial approaches to remove chewing gum, that blights busy city centre streets, after successfully bidding for a £24,994.50 chewing gum task force grant.

The funding will be used to do a one off deep clean across two locations in the city centre, as well as the application of a pavement protector, that makes it harder for gum to stick in the future.

This will also be supported by an extensive behaviour change campaign, urging people to think twice about dropping gum whilst in the city centre.

The deep clean, pavement protector and signage will be installed during September across Boar Lane/Lower Briggate and Lower Lands Lane.

Working closely with Leeds Business Improvement District, the deep clean and behaviour change campaign aims to keep the city centre cleaner, safer and more accessible for all, by encouraging the public to dispose of their chewing gum responsibly.

Established by Defra and run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, the chewing gum task force grant scheme is open 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.

The task force is funded by major gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle, with the investment spread over five years.

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council executive member for climate, energy, environment and green space, said “It is great news that the council have been able to secure funding to tackle the issue of chewing gum in the city centre and trial this new approach for our city I am looking forward to seeing cleaner streets once the project has been rolled out.

“I would encourage anyone visiting Leeds to think twice about dropping gum, as it is a real blight on our streets and wastes valuable taxpayers’ money that could be spent elsewhere.”

Karen Butler, LeedsBID’s director of place and engagement said “Our Street Rangers team works extensively to remove gum from the city’s pavements and pedestrianised areas. It’s good to know the project will not only try to prevent chewing gum sticking to our streets and walkways but will also be encouraging behaviour change to tackle the issue.”

Estimates suggest the annual clean-up cost of chewing gum for councils in the UK is around seven million pounds and according to Keep Britain Tidy, around 77% of England’s streets and 99% of retail sites are stained with gum.


For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team