Merton gets ready for a scrub down

Merton Council has joined forces with street cleaning firm Intex to turn the eyesore of unsightly chewing gum littering the borough’s streets into a mess of the past.
Teams have begun the clean-up, starting at 6pm and working through the night, every night, from Sunday to Thursday for the next eight weeks.
Intex are jet washing Wimbledon town centre, beginning at Wimbledon Hill’s junction with Woodside, using a £100,000 truck weighing a total of seven and a half tonnes. Clearing the chewing gum from the nearly 19,000 metres squared area should take four weeks and the teams and their truck will then move on to clean almost 13,000 metres squared of Mitcham – which they expect will take three weeks.
Over 8,000 metres squared of Raynes Park is in for a two week clean up and more than 3,000 metres squared of Wimbledon Chase is due to come under the scrub for one week.
A team of enforcement officers regularly patrols the borough and has the power to fine anyone £75 if they are caught dropping litter such as chewing gum. This entire clean up operation will cost over £36, 000, money the council would rather spend on essential services for residents. As the council is making such a significant investment in cleaning up the borough’s streets, it will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those who have a blatant disregard for the local environment.
Merton Council’s cabinet member for environment and leisure services Councillor David Simpson said: ‘When chewing gum is carelessly thrown away it gets trodden into the pavements and makes the area look grimy and dirty. We will not tolerate people dropping litter of any form and will not hesitate to take action on anyone spotted committing this environmental crime. Littering demonstrates a blatant disregard for the local community and the borough, which we are committed to maintaining as a beautiful place where our residents feel proud to live. This means making sure all of our town centres are kept clean and tidy.
‘I am delighted the council will be working with Intex which has an excellent record of effectively removing gum from streets and pavements.’
Notes for editors
Intex is licensed to connect its truck – which uses 21 litres of water an hour when running at full capacity – to the local water supply. Cleaners can use hoses attached to the truck up to 100 metres away from the water hydrant and 75 metres away from the truck.
When Intex carried out a pilot scheme with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Manchester City Council the firm cleaned off 73 pieces of chewing gum per metre per 30,000 metres squared, the equivalent of five football pitches.
During September 2008 to August 2009, 169 littering Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) were issued for littering offences. Of which three people have been prosecuted for littering offences when they refused to pay their FPN.