DEFIANT anti-fluoride campaigners have vowed not to let the loss of a legal bid to stop the controversial scheme prove the end of their fight.
Hampshire Against fluoridation (HAF) is to force a debate by councillors in Southampton in the hope that they will oppose the plans.
The group says that it has collected about 6,000 signatures, which would put a motion before the city council, which initially supported adding fluoride to the tap water of nearly 200,000 residents, calling on it to withdraw that support.
The move is one of the ways campaigners say they are determined to continue fighting fluoridation, which would affect parts of Southampton, Eastleigh, Totton, Netley and Rownhams.
As revealed in the Daily Echo, attempts to have a decision by South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) overturned through the courts has now ended in defeat.
A fourth High Court judge ruled against lawyers for Southampton mum Gerri Milner, who argued that the SHA failed to properly assess all the evidence put forward during a public consultation, and that it should not have ignored the wishes of residents in approving the scheme.
The SHA has now said it is moving towards implementing fluoridation, although it has admitted it is likely to take “several months”.
But HAF chairman Stephen Peckham said last night he still believes it can be stopped.
He said: “We’ve not given up the fight at all – we do not see this as the end of the road.
“The position now where the SHA is fighting every local authority, every local MP and thousands of local residents, smacks of arrogance.
“We haven’t even been trying to collect signatures and we’ve managed to get 6,000. There clearly is a lot of opposition.
“We know that Hampshire County Council is still very concerned about this and now Southampton City Council is going to debate it again.
“There’s no evidence for it – there’s nothing. I could look from now until the end of my days for evidence that if we introduce water fluoridation into an area like Southampton it will have any impact on dental health.
“Of course there are pockets of poor dental health, but we shouldn’t fluoridate everyone’s water to try to address that. We’ve got to work with them and their families and community organisations, because that’s the only way to address this.”