25 Feb 2011

Lymington Times - Anti-fluoride campaign to challenge High Court loss

Anti-fluoride campaign to challenge High Court loss
AN appeal has been lodged against the High Court decision to allow fluoride to be added to the water supply of 8,000 Totton residents.
Earlier this month a judge ruled the South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) acted legally when it approved Southampton Primary Care Trust's proposals affecting a total of 190,000 people around the city overall, including those in Totton.
Now solicitors for Southampton mum-of-three Gerri Milner have lodged an application to appeal against part of the judicial review's finding.
The appeal will not focus on the original claim that the SHA should have listened to public opinion when considering plans to fluoridate water. Instead, it will target the way the SHA assessed evidence for and against fluoridation.
The SHA says fluoride will help
fight child tooth decay but opponents who gathered a 15,000-name petition protesting against "forced medication" took their fight to the High Court at a two-day hearing in January.
Lawyers for Mrs Milner argued the SHA had failed to properly take account of the views of residents, and statements by government ministers meant a local majority must be in favour for it to go ahead.
But although Mr Justice Edward Holman accepted widespread local opposition, he concluded the SHA had not actually breached regulations which for the first time allow the NHS to order water companies to add fluoride.
Campaign group Hampshire Against Fluoridation said: "Although disappointing, the judicial review has meant a two-year delay in implementing the scheme for which we should be grateful to Gerri Milner for pursuing this case.
"[It] has highlighted the absurdity of consultation guidelines that give absolute power to SHAs to do what they like when it comes to mass-medicating local drinking water.
"This gives the unelected board more power than local MPs, councils and the many thousands of local people who objected. Not only is this unfair it is clearly undemocratic too."
During consultation 72% of responses were against fluoridation, but a Mori poll for the SHA showed only 38% opposed, compared with 32% in support.
The SHA declined to comment on the appeal when approached by the 'A&T'.

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