Plans to hire chew­ing gum re­moval staff re­jected

Paisley Daily Express - - Front Page -

Coun­cil­lors have voted against hir­ing staff ded­i­cated to re­mov­ing chew­ing gum from Ren­frew­shire streets, writes Jack Thomson, Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter.

The lo­cal au­thor­ity cur­rently uses hand­held spe­cialised ma­chines, me­chan­i­cal sweep­ers and power wash­ers to tar­get hotspots.

The av­er­age cost of a piece of chew­ing gum is 3p but has a clean-up cost of around £1.50.

Pro­pos­als were put for­ward at Wed­nes­day’s In­fra­struc­ture, Land and En­vi­ron­ment Pol­icy Board, which sug­gested re­cruit­ing four work­ers – at a cost of £150,000 a year – as part of a ded­i­cated chew­ing gum re­moval pro­gramme.

How­ever, SNP and Con­ser­va­tive elected mem­bers in­stead voted in favour of keep­ing the sta­tus quo and tar­get­ing prob­lem spots on a“re­quired ba­sis”.

Labour group leader Coun­cil­lor Ed­die Devine claimed board con­vener Coun­cil­lor Cathy McEwan had com­mit­ted to erad­i­cat­ing chew­ing gum from lo­cal streets“im­me­di­ately” af­ter she was ap­pointed in May 2017.

He said:“Can I just re­mind you that when you came into power, you promised to clean up every sin­gle bit of chew­ing gum im­me­di­ately?” “Now you are de­lay­ing it.” How­ever, Coun­cil­lor McEwan de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tion, when she said:“You are telling me that.

“I don’t re­mem­ber say­ing that.”

The SNP elected mem­ber, who was re­cently short­listed for a na­tional award for her en­vi­ron­men­tal work, re­minded coun­cil­lors the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment was con­sid­er­ing a levy on chew­ing gum man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Coun­cil­lor Devine added:“Any ex­cuse to do noth­ing.”

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