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Chewing Gum

Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to apply the principles of producer responsibility to those who manufacture and retail chewing gum; what contribution the manufacturers of chewing gum provide to the cost of cleaning up pavements and public places of discarded chewing gum; and what plans she has to apply the pollutor pays principle to the manufacturers of chewing gum. [102595]

We encourage manufacturers and retailers to participate in a voluntary scheme to use the international Tidyman logo on products. The environmental charity, Environmental Campaigns (ENCAMS), which undertakes work on behalf of the Government, owns a logo which includes the Tidyman logo and draws up voluntary agreements with willing participants.I am not aware of any gum manufacturers providing funding for the cost of cleaning gum from pavements but Defra officials have had meetings with the industry and I recently had a constructive meeting with Wrigley's, which is Britain's largest producer of chewing gum, to discuss these issues.Defra's consultation document Living Places—Powers, Rights, Responsibilities, includes an option to include discarded chewing gum as litter to which existing litter duties and powers apply. This option would impact on anyone irresponsibly discarding chewing gum as they would then be committing a litter offence.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the manufacturers of chewing gum regarding the public nuisance of their discarded product. [102596]

Officials at Defra have been involved in discussions with gum manufacturers since last summer with a view to finding an acceptable solution to the problems surrounding chewing gum litter. Recently, I met Wrigley's, as the largest UK producer of chewing gum, to discuss this issue.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her Department has commissioned to develop techniques for removing chewing gum from footpaths, pavements and other public places; and what steps her Department has taken to encourage effective methods of removing discarded chewing gum from footpaths, pavements and other public places. [102597]

The environmental charity Environmental Campaigns (ENCAMS), which is grant funded by Defra, has produced advice and guidance on prevention and cleansing for local authorities under the banner "Become an Authority on Gum"Defra's consultation document Living Places—Powers, Rights, Responsibilities, included several options relating to chewing gum. We are currently evaluating responses to that consultation exercise, which closed on 14 February, and will then consider how to take matters forward.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the local authority associations concerning chewing gum. [102599]

Defra has not had specific discussions with the Local Government Association concerning the cleaning up of chewing gum. The environmental charity, Environmental Campaigns (ENCAMS), which is grant funded by Defra, has been working with gum manufacturers and local authorities over many years to develop best practice on prevention through education and cleansing affected areas. Our consultation document 'Living Places' refers to the problem of dealing with chewing gum and we are currently considering the responses from a variety of sources including local government.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the cost of cleaning chewing gum from pavements and other public areas in the last 12 months. [102600]

We have made no estimates of the cost of chewing gum removal in the last 12 months.