24 Jun 2011

Lymington Times - Anti-fluoride campaign loses High Court legal challenge

Anti-fluoride campaign loses High Court legal challenge
A CAMPAIGN group fighting against fluoride being added to Southampton's water supply, which will affect 8,000 Totton residents, has lost its High Court bid to stop it.
The South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) gave its approval in 2009 for the chemical to be added to the area's supply after the city's primary care trust said it was needed to combat child tooth decay.
The plan affects 190,000 people around Southampton, including 8,000 Totton residents because of the layout of the pipes.
A two-day legal challenge was heard in the High Court earlier this year but last week the judge rejected a final appeal against the decision not to allow a judicial review.
Opponents had claimed SHA bosses failed to properly assess key arguments against the proposals before giving them their unanimous backing.
Despite this, members of Hampshire Against Fluoridation (HAF) say they plan to step up their campaign.
HAF chairman Stephen Peckham said: "The SHA has shown that not only is it willing to ignore the evidence, but it continues to act in defiance of the wishes of local people and democratically elected local councils and MPs.
"The government is passing decision-making powers from the SHA to local authorities to ensure that there is more accountability — a concept that seems lost on the unelected SHA board."
The group plans to lobby Southampton City Council with a 6,000 signature petition to urge the council to formally reverse its original endorsement of fluoridation.
A spokesperson for the group added: "The councils in the affected areas must come together as they will have responsibility for fluoridation when the SHA is abolished next year.
"A statement indicating that the city council will eventually turn off the fluoride supply will send a powerful message to the SHA. If they still insist on buying the equipment and developing the dosing stations, then
they will be accountable at some time in the future for purposely wasting public money."
A spokesperson for the SHA told the 'A&T' it was "pleased" the legal process had been concluded following the High Court judgment.
She added: "Throughout this time the SHA board has remained satisfied that water fluoridation at one part per million is a safe and effective way to tackle tooth decay in the area, and that the health benefits outweighed all other arguments against water fluoridation, including the level of support and opposition.
"The process of adding fluoride to the water in Southampton and south-west Hampshire will now continue as planned. It is likely to be several months before the necessary plant and machinery are constructed, operational, and ready to commence the process of adding fluoride to the water supply."
During consultation 72% of responses were against fluoridation, but a Mori poll for the SHA showed only 38% opposed, compared with 32% in support.

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