BRAINTREE Council will be working to tackle chewing gum littering across the district thanks to a new machine.

The council has added the new gum-busting MaxVac Gladiator MV700 to its street-cleansing equipment.

It says the addition will “enhance the council’s current street and power washing regime to remove chewing gum more effectively from pavements”.

The addition comes after the council received a £25,000 grant from the Chewing Gum Taskforce, managed by charity Keep Britain Tidy.

The machine was developed in Switzerland and was purpose-built to remove all traces of gum using a combination of brushes, steam and a non-toxic vegetable-based water additive.

Over the next few months, the gladiator will start by tackling high footfall areas in the town centres of Braintree, Halstead and Witham and then move into other areas in the district.

Braintree and Witham Times: CLEAN UP: Councillor Tom Cunningham with the Gladiator gum machineCLEAN UP: Councillor Tom Cunningham with the Gladiator gum machine (Image: N/A)

Campaign posters are being displayed on litter bins and lamp posts to remind people that it is not just pedestrians that are at risk of stepping in used gum, but it is also harmful to pets and wildlife, so gum should be binned responsibly.

Braintree Council environment boss Tom Cunningham said: “In recent years we have invested significantly in redevelopment including the pedestrianisation of Braintree town centre.

“When people visit, whether it is to shop, work or meet up with friends and family, we want them to experience a welcoming and attractive town centre.”

Mr Cunningham, who is also the council’s deputy leader, added: “Chewing gum is litter highly visible and is both difficult and expensive to clean up.

“This new highly specialised Gladiator machine will help improve the removal of chewing gum and will also complement our existing street cleansing equipment, whilst improving efficiency and overall cleanliness standards.

“However, the best solution to this problem is for people to bin their gum.”