Council gets tough on chewing gum


Sticky situation as taxpayers foot £36,000 bill as part of Merton’s bid to rid the streets of chewing gum.

By Charlie Byrne

CHEWING GUM is an eyesore that has proved a nuisance for years, but Merton Council have announced they are to rid the streets of it.

An industrial cleaning team, equipped with a £100,000 “jet-spray” truck, has begun to remove the sticky stuff from over 40,000 square metres of pavement across the borough.

The procedure will cost the taxpayer £36,000 – an amount the local authorities would rather be spending on other services.

With such a hefty investment being pumped into the clean-up operation, the council are hoping to recoup some of the funds by enforcing £75 penalties for anyone seen to drop gum or litter on the streets.

Merton Council’s cabinet member for environmental services, Councillor David Simpson, said: “When chewing gum is carelessly thrown away it gets trodden into the pavements and makes the area look grimy and dirty.

“We will not tolerate people dropping litter of any form and will not hesitate to take action against anyone spotted committing this environmental crime.

“Littering demonstrates a blatant disregard for the local community and the borough, which we are committed to maintaining as a beautiful place where our residents can feel proud to live.”

Wimbledon resident Helen Downie said: “It’s about time the streets got a good clean.

“It’s really horrible to look at and people need to start taking responsibility for the environment they live in. The big question is how long they will remain clean for.”

The operation is expected to take more than seven weeks to finish.

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