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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 March, 2003, 12:55 GMT
Mayor's proposal to tackle sticky problem
Chewing gum
2,000 is being spent on removing gum from Barnstaple's High Street
A Devon town mayor is proposing a special tax on chewing gum to help pay for cleaning the streets.

It is the latest proposal in Chris Haywood's campaign against what he says is a menace to Barnstaple and a danger to public hygiene.

Barnstaple Town council is to spend up to 2,000 cleaning the High Street and surrounding shopping areas.

And Mr Haywood says that while a law to ban chewing gum sales will not work, a tax might.

'Small minority'

"My big interest is to put a tax on chewing gum, like they do on cigarettes and drink," said Mr Haywood.

"It seems to be a very popular pastime and it would make taxes come back to the community to help towards the environmental clean-up."

But the Wrigley Company, which employs 700 people at its factory in Plymouth, said "the majority should not be penalised for the improper behaviour of a few".

"Only a small minority dispose of their gum incorrectly," said a Wrigley spokesperson.

"Placing a levy on chewing gum would not solve the issue, there is one simple solution to gum residue, put it in the bin.

"The Wrigley Company strongly believes that a long-term solution to the problem of litter and discarded chewing gum is only going to be found through education, supported by the enforcement of fines," she added.

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