A MAJOR project to slash levels of tooth decay in County Durham will not be rolled out in Barnard Castle and other parts of Teesdale.
Durham County Council has approved the next stage of £250,000-a-year plans to add fluoride to the county’s water supplies.
But the scheme is not expected to reach southern parts of the county connected to the Teesside system, which is the responsibility of Teesside local authorities.
According to a report for Durham councillors: “The whole of County Durham can receive fluoridated water with the exception of those properties who are on a private water supply and the Barnard Castle population and surrounding area. This is due to their water being received from the Teesside water supply system.
“Should Teesside Local Authorities decide to progress with a community water fluoridation scheme in the future this population would subsequently be consulted with and, pending the public consultation outcome, would receive fluoridated water.”
About 2,200 people in County Durham rely on a private water supply, with a further 21,000 in Barnard Castle and the surrounding area connected to Teesside.
Last Wednesday, Durham County Council’s cabinet agreed to push ahead with the fluoridation scheme.
Public Health England is expected to fund the £4.125 million upfront cost of the project, with the county council picking up the £250,000 annual running costs – equivalent to about 60p per head.
Sunderland and South Tyneside, as well as parts of Darlington, Gateshead, Stockton, Hartlepool and Cumbria are also expected to benefit. Parts of Derwentside have already seen the benefits of fluoridation, with lower levels of tooth decay than other comparable areas without.
The report added: “The population who would not receive fluoridated water already have good oral health and so would not be disadvantaged. The Barnard Castle population would continue to receive the other parts of the oral health strategy such as tooth brushing schemes and businesses supported through better Health at Work.”