AN MP has demanded answers on the future of fluoridation in Hampshire.
Council chiefs in Hampshire believe controversial plans to introduce fluoridation could be dead in the water.
The leaders of both Southampton City Council and Hampshire County Council wrote to the Government earlier this year asking for clarification on whether the scheme still exists.
But the organisation which would be charged with adding the chemical to drinking water has still not reached a decision on whether to fight for its introduction or not.
Now New Forest East MP Julian Lewis has urged Public Health England (PHE) to hurry up with its deliberations and let the 200,000 affected people know whether it intends to fight to introduce it or not.
The fluoridation saga has rumbled on since 2009, when the South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) revealed its scheme to put fluoride into water in parts of Southampton, Eastleigh, Totton, Netley and Rownhams.
The plans proved hugely controversial but were given the green light in 2009.
But, as revealed in the Daily Echo in July, council chiefs now believe the scheme does not exist and have asked the Government and PHE to confirm or deny their suspicions.
They say paper work was not completed during the handover between the SHA, which was scrapped earlier this year, and PHE, which took on responsibility for fluoridation, earlier this year and that therefore the scheme does not exist.
Since then PHE spokesmen have repeatedly stated that the organisation is reviewing its position on the future of the scheme, but Mr Lewis is now upping the pressure on them to produce a definitive statement on its future.
Although the final decision is set to be made by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, PHE bosses are reviewing whether they will put forward a case arguing for the introduction of fluoridation to Mr Hunt.
Conservative Mr Lewis, whose constituency contains Totton, wrote to PHE’s chief executive Duncan Selbie requesting a statement from PHE that would “put an end to the confusion and speculation surrounding this whole sorry saga.”
But in his reply Mr Selbie said the organisation was still taking advice on its position and that no response is immediately forthcoming.
Mr Lewis said: “It is obvious from the contortions of its chief executive that PHE is still trying to poke its nose into an area where its interference is not welcome.
“The proponents of fluoridation failed to get the contract signed in time but continue arrogantly to try to impose it.”
A Public Health England spokesman said: “Public Health England continues to give full and careful consideration to all the relevant factors relating to water fluoridation in Southampton and south west Hampshire.”