SOUTHAMPTON civic chiefs have called for people to be given their say on controversial plans to fluoridate Hampshire’s tap water.

Councillors this afternoon backed a motion demanding South Central Strategic Health Authority holds a referendum on fluoridation before the scheme is introduced.

The move is seen as a major boost for the campaign, backed by the Daily Echo, to put the final decision in the hands of affected residents.

Before the council meeting, anti-fluoridation campaigners gathered outside Southampton Civic Centre to show the strength of opposition to the plans.

Health chiefs unanimously backed the scheme last year, despite public opposition.

More than 10,000 people had their say in the SHA’s public consultation, with 72 per cent of respondents who live in the affected area – covering two thirds of Southampton and parts of Eastleigh, Totton, Netley and Rownhams – expressing their opposition.

Southampton City Council previously backed fluoridation during the consultation – the only local authority to do so – but now wants to see the decision placed in the hands of those who will have the chemical added to their water.

The motion passed today calls on the SHA to hold a referendum before FLUORIDE is introduced to the water supply, and for the authority to honour the result of that vote.

Fluoridation is currently on hold while the courts consider a legal challenge lodged by a Southampton resident who argues the SHA should have paid more attention to public opinion.

The SHA insists it met or exceeded all the requirements in law and Government guidelines.