ANOTHER major step has been taken towards fluoridating Hull and part of the East Riding’s water supply.
According to a decision record by Hull Council’s director of public health Julia Weldon, £58,000 is to be spent on a detailed feasibility study by Yorkshire Water.
The proposal, which would affect more than 340,000 people including swathes of the East Riding, saw protestors demonstrate outside a meeting last November.
Liberal Democrat councillor Adam Williams said a “minority of councillors” at the Labour-run authority should not be pressing ahead with “forcefully medicating the entire city’s population against its will.”
He added: “The whole way the fluoridation issue has been handled so far at the council has been a sham.
“We’ve constantly been told we can’t debate it at Full Council as ‘no decision has been taken’ yet clearly it is moving ahead anyway, despite even backbench Labour councillors being against it – with cabinet members agreeing to it without even realising.”
The council report shows Hull Council has chosen to pursue the more technically straightforward – and cheaper – option using treatment plants at Tophill Low and Keldgate, in Cottingham, to add fluoride to the city’s water supply.
However it will mean around 87,000 people living in East Riding villages including Anlaby, Willerby, Cottingham, Dunswell, Hessle and the Holderness plain up to Hornsea could be affected.
The other option would have required four new treatment sites, three in Hull and one in the East Riding. It would have reduced the numbers getting fluoride added to their water, but was not judged “realistically viable.”
The first option was previously said to be going to cost £1.6m, with running costs of £330,000 a year.
Officials believe fluoridation is the best way of tackling poor dental health, along with other measures, including supervised brushing.
Nearly 38 per cent of five-year-olds in Hull have tooth decay and around 400 youngsters a year have to have teeth removed at hospital under anaesthetic.
The study is needed to establish whether fluoridation is “operable and efficient,” before consultation with the public and interested parties.