UK

Chewing Gum May Be Banned From Milton Keynes Under New Proposal

08/03/2013 14:45 GMT | Updated 08/03/2013 14:46 GMT

Milton Keynes could introduce tough new measures to ban chewing gum from the city centre with 'gum police' patrolling the streets looking for offenders.

Amid concerns over how much the "unattractive irritant" costs to remove, After8, part of Milton Keynes city centre management, is chewing over proposals to enforce a ban of the sticky stuff.

The proposals came after the group was outraged to finding 22 piece littering just one square foot in the centre, reported the Milton Keynes’ Citizen.

gum police

Is that gum in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

There are already 15 councils in Britain who have signed up to a plan to fine anyone who drops the gum, however a spokesperson for the After8 was keen to differentiate this ban from current measures.

"This would be bigger because it will be introduced across the whole of Central Milton Keynes over a one to two mile radius. We are still looking into how we would enforce it but we are getting lots of positive feedback on social media. Whether it means there will be gum police, or a different employee taken on to enforce the gum ban, we are looking into it."

To remove a piece of gum can cost anything between 50p and £2 according to figures quoted by the BBC.

Cleaning chewing gum costs councils over £100m to remove each year, reported the BBC. Chewing gum takes five years to degrade, meaning it is an unsightly mess if it is not removed.

In October, a woman was fined £75 after dropping chewing gum in Carmarthenshire, the first time such a ban was imposed.

Despite this, Britain is a nation of gum-chewing fanatics. We are the second biggest consumers of gum internationally, each slack-jawed Brit chomping on approximately 120 to 130 sticks per person each year.

Anti-chewing gum fever reached such heights in Singapore, the nation decided to ban it. It is illegal to sell or own chewing gum in the state.

Similar ideas have been floated in Britain before, with little success. Wales tried to introduce a 5p levy on packets of chewing gum to help pay for litter problems before it was thrown out by assembly members.