HYNDBURN MP Greg Pope is urging the Government to slap a tax on chewing gum in a bid to bring an end to a sticky problem plaguing the streets.
Mr Pope believes Britain should follow the example of Ireland, which is imposing a levy on every pack of chewing gum to pay for the cost of cleaning it from public places.
Under the Irish scheme, spearheaded by Environment Minister Martin Cullen, a small extra cost of around 10 euro cents is to be added to each packet of gum sold.
Mr Pope believes a similar levy in Britain would encourage people to dispose of chewing gum more responsibly and prevent them from sticking gum to seats in buses and public benches and dropping it in the street where it can stick to people's shoes or become ingrained in the tarmac.
He told the Observer that cleaning chewing gum from the streets was an expensive and time-consuming business and argued that gum-free streets would provide people with a better quality of life.
He added: "It seems to me that chewing gum is a problem. Obviously not all gum users dispose of it in an irresponsible way, but some do and it gets stuck to people's shoes and on the tarmac. It's a real nuisance.
"One of the ways we ought to deal with this is make polluters pay for it. What they have done in Ireland is to put a small tax on chewing gum to pay for cleaning it up.
"I use chewing gum myself and I do not want to put people's taxes up gratuitously. But I think people should dispose of it in a thoughtful way and, until they do, I think a tax is a good idea.
"It's a quality-of-life issue. We have the right to have streets which are clear of chewing gum."