Ayr Town Centre has been declared 'ground zero' in the fight against persistent litter droppers blighting the streets. South Ayrshire Council and Ayr Renaissance have teamed up to launch a new gumbuster service to remove chewing gum scarring streets and pavements.
As part of a wider initiative to clean up the streets, South Ayrshire Council, in partnership with Ayr Renaissance, has invested in two Eco Gum chewing gum removal machines, at a cost of £6,000 (£3,000 per machine).
Phase one of tackling the issue will concentrate on Ayr Town centre, where Ayr Renaissance will have staff working on the two machines on a daily basis.
Councillor John McDowall, South Ayrshire Council's Sustainability and Environment Portfolio Holder said the new equipment would make a big difference, "You don't need to go far to see the lasting stain people are leaving on town centre streets when they spit out their gum with no thought for their environment.
"By investing in this technology we'll be able to dislodge stubborn substances that get ground into the pores of pavements, making its removal much harder than you might think.
"Starting in Ayr Town Centre, we'll be working to clean up the streets underfoot before moving to other towns through time. We would rather we didn't have to resort to this and would remind people to please bin their gum rather than simply discarding it."
Chewing gum is classed as littering and carries a £80 fine for anyone caught dropping chewing gum. South Ayrshire Council will continue to carry out Enforcement Patrols in the town centre and other areas throughout South Ayrshire.
David Bell, Managing Director at Ayr Renaissance, said, "It's not until you really start to look around that you appreciate just how much gum people discard.
"It's ugly, and tough to move, but I'm pleased to say these new machines are already helping to make a clean sweep of our streets.
"In the coming weeks we'll be targeting some of the areas that have been highlighted as the worst affected, and I'm confident people will soon see a real difference."
The trainees undertaking the work are part of the ESF funded Youth Employment Initiative which supports unemployed young people to develop skills and experience to move into employment.