By gum – Brighton and Hove prepares to tackle a sticky problem

Posted On 11 Aug 2010 at 6:58 am

Brighton and Hove’s streets could be about to get a whole lot less sticky.

The council has splashed out £90,000 on a state-of-the-art machine which can clear up to 100,000 pieces of gum a day.

And it uses just 3 per cent of the water used by existing gum-busting machines.

Under a deal with specialist cleaning firm Gum Clear, Brighton and Hove City Council said that it had secured a discount of £30,000 for help in developing and demonstrating the device.

Spacewords Brighton

The council hopes that other local authorities will hire the machine, helping it to recoup some of the cost.

Currently, many councils pay up to £3,000 for contractors to clear gum, treating about 2,500 metres of pavement at a time.

The council said: “Doing this job in-house could reduce Brighton and Hove City Council’s costs to just £400 a day, making savings of thousands over the coming months and enabling far more cleaning.”

The machine should clear about 200 metres of pavements an hour, lifting up to 40 pieces of gum a metre.

xmas collections

The council said that the machine was a vast improvement on older technologies because it could suck up and recycle 97 per cent of the water that it used.

Earlier machines would blast water on to the pavements with high-pressure pumps, often spraying dirt on to shop fronts and blocking drains.

Council leader Mary Mears test drives the gum-clearing machine

Council leader Mary Mears said: “I’m declaring war on the dreadful blight of chewing gum discarded on our city’s streets.

“I want visitors to Brighton and Hove to be greeted by sparkling clean pavements, not by the unpleasant sight of sticky gum stains.

“By investing in this machine we hope to rescue our beautiful urban landscape from this menace.

“But we also need residents and visitors to help by putting chewing gum in the bin rather than throwing it on the ground.”

The council said that the chewing gum industry was worth £300 million a year.

It added that Brighton and Hove had been saddled with a bill of about £25,000 a year to clean up the mess.

Contractors have been cleaning up to 2.2 million pieces of gum a year, covering more than 48,000 square metres of pavement.

Councillor Mears announced plans to buy the machine last December in her “10 in 2010” speech, which set out the Conservative administration’s ten priorities for this year.

  1. quedula Reply

    One can’t help feeling that gum manufacturers should be contibuting in some way.

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