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Last Updated:  Friday, 21 February, 2003, 14:03 GMT
Councils chew over gum call
Chewing gum
Chewing gum manufacturers have rejected the calls
Scottish councils are being urged to stick together to tackle the problem of discarded chewing gum.

Aberdeen is leading the calls for a levy to be imposed on gum manufacturers.

It wants them to help meet the cost of clearing up the mess caused by people discarding gum on the pavement.

The council is asking other local authorities north of the border to unite behind its campaign.

Councillor Kevin Stewart said Aberdeen City Council had hired a specialist vehicle to remove chewing gum last year.

Give backing

However, the pavements were covered again within a matter of days.

"This has got to be resolved and I think the way of resolving this is by introducing a levy and giving the proceeds of that levy to councils to deal with the problem," he said.

Officials in Edinburgh are recommending that councillors give their backing when they consider the idea next week.

There is a problem here which is fast-growing and very annoying
Cllr Robert Lee
A report said that it costs 500 a day to remove gum from the streets of the capital.

West Lothian Council has already rallied to the cause.

Councillor Robert Lee said the authority was "very sympathetic" to what Aberdeen was trying to achieve.

"There is a problem here which is fast-growing and very annoying," he said.

He said previous attempts to address the issue had "failed miserably" as people did not heed warnings about dropping gum.

Cllr Lee said there was a role for educating the public about the problem but that other options should be explored.

Clearing chewing gum
High-pressure equipment is used to clean the gum
Stuart Duffin of West Lothian Chamber of Commerce said there were business opportunities in developing environmentally-friendly cleaning equipment.

Cllr Lee said the existing machines cost thousands of pounds and used high-pressure water.

"The pressure in them is so great that when you attempt to use them it actually blasts the concrete away from the brickwork," he added.

"It would have to be a new type of machine, something much less powerful and very much less potentially damaging."

However, the manufacturers argued that it was the responsibility of individuals to bin chewing gum like they would any other litter.

They said that councils should come down hard on those who failed to do so.



Sticky patch over gum row
14 Feb 03 |  Scotland
Council calls for gum control
02 Jan 03 |  England
Council raises sticky tax question
14 May 01 |  Scotland

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