Headlines: May 12th, 2006

The first local authority education campaign designed to reduce the litter problems caused by discarded chewing gum will begin tomorrow in Trafford. Two more schemes will be underway later this month and 15 councils will be involved in similar campaigns during the summer, using funding from the Chewing Gum Action Group.The Action Group is paying for an advertising campaign in each of the areas, using posters in the street, on buses and in bars using the slogan: ‘Thanks for binning your gum when you’re done.’ Alongside the posters the local authorities will run their own public relations initiatives to raise awareness of the problem of chewing gum litter; promote the responsible disposal of gum and educate people that those who drop gum on the floor can be fined up to 80 pounds.

All 15 campaigns will be based on successful pilot scheme run last summer in Preston. It led to a reduction of up to 80 per cent in chewing gum litter. Ben Bradshaw, the Minister for Local Environmental Quality at Defra, said he hoped the Action Group’s work would help local authorities cut levels of gum litter and reduce their spending on cleaning it up. In turn, he said, that would help increase the pride people had in their communities.

The campaign in Trafford begins tomorrow and will be followed on May 22nd by similar projects in Leeds and Hertsmere. Other authorities taking part with launches staggered between now and September 11th are Bristol, Chesterfield, Colchester, Horsham, Kensington and Chelsea, Lancaster, Lewisham, Medway, Plymouth, Solihuull, Stoke on Trent and Wigan.

The Chewing Gum Action Group, which was set up in the autumn of 2003, will carry out pre and post campaign attitude awareness studies in a number of the areas. The results will be analysed and used to determine how it should take forward its work.