AFTER a long, hard-fought battle, claims that too much fluoride in Tamworth’s water supply is harmful to residents will finally be reviewed by councillors.
Protesters packed out the public gallery at Marmion House on Tuesday night offering a united front against councillors they felt had previously ignored the issue.
But a petition, signed by more than 1,000 people, forced members to reconsider their position, with councillors voting unanimously in favour of referring the town’s fluoride levels for scrutiny.
“It was a well deserved victory,” said Councillor Chris Cooke, who has lobbied the authority on the issue for the last 12 month.
“Very much a show of what people power can do.
“Hundreds of people signed the petition forcing fluoride onto Tamworth council’s agenda. Many other people emailed, phoned and otherwise lobbied their local councillors.
“When they saw the public gallery packed with people, councillors realised they had been brow-beaten by this wave of public support. They had to give in.
“It’s been hard work,” he added. “But it proves people power works.”
Tuesday night’s meeting saw councillors across the chamber back Chris Cooke’s motion for the matter to be added to the community and wellbeing scrutiny committee’s agenda.
Cllr Lee Bates said: “It should go back for scrutiny because that’s what the people want.”
Cllr Simon Peaple agreed: “It deserves to be looked at. My view is that where we’ve got petitions like this we should refer them to the relevant committee.”
Opposition Leader Cllr John Faulkner said: “The question is not whether or not we’re in favour of fluoride being added to our water, it’s whether or not it should be debated at the community wellbeing and scrutiny committee.”
Despite offering his support, council Leader Danny Cook said “there are bigger issues in Tamworth”. While Cllr Andrew James disputed many of the claims made by Cllr Cook about the dangers of fluoridation.
The matter will now be added onto the wellbeing and scrutiny committee’s agenda.