A solution to sort out a sticky problem?

Photograph Jamie Forbes 30.8.13. KIRKINTILLOCH. Chewing gum on pavement outside Farmfoods in Townhead.
Photograph Jamie Forbes 30.8.13. KIRKINTILLOCH. Chewing gum on pavement outside Farmfoods in Townhead.

A radical solution has been suggested to end the sticky scourge of chewing gum on town centre pavements – 
outlawing it altogether.

Bringing in a gum ban is just one of the suggestions put forward by the council to the Scottish Government.

The authority has answered a series of questions posed by the Government on plans to crack down on litter and fly-tipping.

In its response, the council labels discarded gum “a blight on the environment”.

It adds: “It is costly to remove and stretches council budgets. A lead should be taken from cities such as Singapore where chewing gum has been banned completely.”

And in terms of fly-tipping and litter, the council has backed an increase in fines to act as a greater deterrent.

It has told the Scottish Government: “The level should be increased for fly-tipping to £200, but reduced for prompt payment.

“The current level has remained unchanged for many years and does not reflect the time and effort taken to investigate.”

The council believes it could also be beneficial to raise fixed penalty notices for litter and dog fouling to £100.

Depute leader of the council, Ashay Ghai, said: “Ask anyone about the issues that matter to them and these things come up time and time again, so we need to continue to tackle them.

“Steeper fines of £100 for littering and dog fouling is one suggestion the council has made. Not only is it hoped that it will act as a deterrent, but the increase better reflects the expense in the enforcement process.

“There is a zero tolerance approach to discarded chewing gum across the whole of Singapore where offenders are fined. Chewing gum removal is a very expensive process and the council is suggesting a national solution to deal with it.

“We are seeing more and more gum discarded in areas where we used to find cigarette butts. With the smoking ban came an increase in people chewing gum. Our two chewing gum removal machines proved to be neither reliable nor cost-effective so we now use alternative methods such a power washing.”