Draft regulations setting out how Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) should consult local people on the decision to fluoridate water supplies were published today by Public Health Minister, Melanie Johnson.
The draft regulations require SHAs to publish proposals to fluoridate in the local media, and consult on the decision for three months. SHAs would only then ask the water company to fluoridate if the response to the proposals was predominantly in favour of fluoridation.
Minister for Public Health, Melanie Johnson, said:
“The oral health of the population has improved dramatically in the last 30 years, but there remain unacceptable inequalities – children in parts of the North of England have on average twice as much tooth decay as those in some other parts of the country. ”
“Fluoridation can reduce dental decay as is clear from areas in the West Midlands and the North East of England where water is fluoridated . However it should not be imposed by central government – local communities must decide whether they want fluoride added to their water supply.”
Notes to Editors:
1. Section 58 of the Water Act 2003 amended Sections 87 –91 of the Water Industry Act (WIA) 2001 to put water companies under an obligation to agree to requests from Strategic Health Authorities to fluoridate but only after they had consulted on the proposal. Section 89 of the WIA requires that SHAs comply with regulations governing the conduct of these consultations.
2. The Department of Health wishes to consult on the content of regulations before they are laid before Parliament for debate. The draft regulations and an explanatory note are available onwww.dh.gov.uk/Consultations/LiveConsultations/fs/en Comments need to be submitted by 29 October 2004.
3. Media enquiries only to Rachel Clinton or Vicky Wyatt on 020 7210 5623 or 020 7210 5656.