The judicial review of fluoridation of water supplies in Southampton is expected to be heard in the autumn.
That’s according to health minister, Simon Burns, who was replying to a question in the House of Commons this week.
Conservative MP Dr Julian Lewis asked ‘whether it remains his [the health minister’s] policy that fluoridation of the water supply in Totton and Southampton should not take place without the consent of a majority of the local population.’
Simon Burns responded, saying that it is ‘essential that any consultation gives people a real opportunity to make their views known and that those views are taken into account before a final decision is made.’
He added: ‘The decision by South Central SHA to approve the fluoridation of water supplies to the Southampton area is the subject of a judicial review, which is likely to be heard in the autumn and so due to the legal challenge, the department is unable to comment.’
Health bosses in Southampton agreed the plans for the city’s water in February last year, despite 72% of 10,000 respondents in a public consultation opposing the move.
The judicial review was set in place after a resident launched a private legal challenge June 2009.
Resident Geraldine Milner is behind the legal challenge. She is opposed to the proposals because of uncertainties regarding long-term health risks associated with fluoridation, as well as concerns with regard to the possible adverse environmental effects.
She also considers that more targeted and less intrusive measures should be used to deal with problems of tooth decay in the Southampton area.
The legal challenge argues that the SHA failed to have regard to the Government’s policy that mass fluoridation of drinking water should only go ahead in any particular area if a majority of the local people are in favour of it.