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A fresh fight to strip chewing gum stains from town and city centres is launched today(SAT).

Grants of up to £70,000 are being handed to councils to rid pavements of the sticky scourge.

Today’s announcement comes 12 months after confectionery firms including Mars Wrigley, GlaxoSmithKline and Perfetti Van Melle pledged to pump £10million over the next five years into tackling the oral litter blight.

In a boost for the Mirror’s High Street Fightback campaign, Exeter, Birmingham, Sunderland, Swansea, Glasgow and Belfast are among councils benefiting from the first pot of “Chewing Gum Task Force” funds.

Keep Britain Tidy chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “This is an exciting new opportunity for councils to tackle the ongoing problem of gum pollution.

“The grants will allow councils to clean up historic gum litter staining in our towns and cities, as well as taking action to prevent people littering in the first place.”

Around 87% of Britain’s streets are stained with gum, according to Defra

Annual clean-up costs are estimated at £7 million and around 87% of England’s streets are stained with gum, according to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Cash unveiled today includes grants of up £20,000 for councils including Leicester, Hull, Croydon, Southend, Lewisham and Colchester to buy cleaning equipment and signs warning people not to spit or throw their gum on the floor.

Belfast, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newport can invest in “long-term monitoring of gum litter levels and the effects of intervention”.

Other towns to benefit include Bury, Bolton and Derby.

,Councils can be awarded grants of up to £70,000 to remove discarded gum

Hayley Osborne, sustainability manager at Perfetti Van Melle’s, which makes Mentos and Daygum, said: “As a manufacturer of gum products we are aware of the unfortunate impact our products can cause to cities and towns.

“By working together with industry peers, councils and customers, we can also help be part of the solution, helping to clean-up our streets and educating consumers on the importance of safe gum disposal.”

Mars Wrigley’s corporate affairs director Ana Baptista said: “We have developed interventions proven to reduce gum littering which have already been used by over 100 councils.

“We are delighted to see these deployed as part of the Chewing Gum Task Force grant scheme and look forward to having many more councils on board.”

Hailing the first allocation of cash, Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “Littering blights our towns and costs taxpayers money.

“Working with responsible gum manufacturers, we are now giving councils extra help to clean up our cities and towns.”

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