Fluoride Action Network

Southampton: Appeal over fluoride decision

Source: Daily Echo | April 7th, 2011
Location: United Kingdom, England

THE controversial decision to fluoridate Hampshire tap water will go back to the High Court later this year.

A date in June has been set for an application by Southampton mum Gerri Milner to appeal against part of the ruling that South Central Strategic Health Authority was right to approve the scheme.

Since winning the judicial review case in February, the authority has vowed to press ahead with its plans, affecting nearly 200,000 residents in parts of Southampton, Eastleigh, Totton, Netley and Rownhams.

Ms Milner last night said she believes it is “ridiculous”

that the body has restarted work on fluoridation despite the on-going court challenge, and government plans to scrap all strategic health authorities as early as next spring.

Her legal team, led by Sean Humber from Leigh Day solicitors in London, has lodged an appeal arguing the SHA did not properly evaluate the evidence for and against adding fluoride to tap water before its 12- man board unanimously approved the scheme in February 2009.

The plans had been on hold since June that year, when Ms Milner first applied for a judicial review, but earlier this year Mr Justice Edward Holman ruled the law states the SHA was not required to follow public opinion in reaching its decision.

During a public consultation, more than 10,000 people gave their views on the plans, with 72 per cent saying they were opposed.

The judge also refused Ms Milner permission to have a full judicial review into the way the health authority evaluated evidence before giving the scheme the green light.

At the two-day hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in January, it was claimed that not all board members had been properly informed of detailed arguments put forward in opposition, including those of Hampshire Against Fluoridation and Hampshire County Council.

Ms Milner told the Daily Echo last night she is determined to fight the plans through the courts.

She said: “It makes me so angry. Clearly they shouldn’t do it while there’s still legal proceedings against them.

“It’s so undemocratic. I don’t think they’ve assessed either side properly.”

An authority spokesman said: “The SHA remains satisfied that water fluoridation is a safe and effective way to improve the dental health of children in the Southampton area.

“The SHA will work with the water authority on developing an implementation plan and it is likely to be a number of months before the necessary plant and machinery is constructed, operational and ready to commence the process of adding fluoride to the water supply.”

The application to appeal has been listed for a short hearing on June 16.