A CASH pot of £20,000 to tackle “the blight of discarded gum” has been welcomed by Colchester councillors.

More than 40 councils across the country have been awarded grants of up to £70,000 to remove chewing gum stains from streets.

With Colchester set to receive a share of the funding, Martin Goss, councillor responsible for neighbourhood services and waste, said: “Our neighbourhood teams work incredibly hard and devote considerable resources to tackling the blight of discarded gum.

“We are delighted to have been successful in our bid to Keep Britain Tidy and will use the £20,000 awarded to purchase and maintain a dedicated vehicle to clean streets and pavements in and around the town centre.

“Gum litter is a disgrace and there really is no need for anyone to be littering now that we have special ‘Gumdrop’ bins around the town centre.”

The bins were first installed across 34 hotspots in Colchester town centre as part of a partnership with Gumdrop Ltd back in 2019.

Mr Goss added: “We can, and should, all work together to take pride in Colchester and continue to challenge and educate anyone who drops gum or any other kind of litter for that matter.”

Colchester, Ipswich, Southend, North and East Hertfordshire and West Suffolk were among the first winners of funding as part of the Government’s new chewing gum task force.

Established by Defra and run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, the task force aims to clean gum off pavements and put in measures to stop it being dropped in the first place.

Estimates suggest the annual clean-up cost of chewing gum for councils in the UK is around £7million and according to Keep Britain Tidy, around 87 per cent of England’s streets are stained with gum.

The funding is the first tranche of a package worth up to £10million from major gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle to tackle chewing gum stains – the investment will be spread over five years.