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Council spends £32k cleaning up chewing gum from streets

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 December 2016

Picture: Gareth Fuller

Picture: Gareth Fuller

PA Archive/PA Images Gareth Fuller

Havering Council spent a whopping £32,000 cleaning up chewing gum from the streets in 2015, a Freedom of Information Request has revealed.

Romford and Hornchurch’s town centres were scrubbed of the sticky substance last year, with three men spending 30 weeks cleaning the streets.

The year before, the council spent £20,000 cleaning South Street, Romford.

Cllr Osman Dervish, the council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “In 2015 the council invested in new machinery to tackle the issue of chewing gum on our streets, which has been a massive success.

“I encourage residents and visitors to the borough to use the bins provided to dispose of chewing gum, as this will help us to keep Havering clean.”

Havering Council launched its Cleaner Havering campaign in 2012 after a survey found the top three priorities for residents in the borough were tackling dog mess, dealing with general litter and tackling vandalism.

Nicholas Priest, 26, of Bolberry Road, Collier Row, said: “Why clean it when it’s just going to get back again? You don’t trip up over chewing gum.

“Spend the money levelling the streets instead. We see many old ladies trip up outside here, and young people too, it’s not just the elderly.”

The council has invested more than £100,000 in new street cleaning machines, including a £40,000 pavement washer.

Amy Coates, 21, of Lyndhurst Drive, Hornchurch, said: “It’s a bit of a waste really. It’s a good idea but it is a bit much.”

The Local Environmental Quality Survey for England (LEQSE) 2014/15 found 64% of the 7,200 sites surveyed were affected by gum staining.

Lindsay Smith, 42, who works at Romford’s Age UK branch, added: “It’s a good thing but more needs to be done to stop it in the first place.

“You’ve got a lot of foot traffic here, it’s not an easy thing to do.”

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