Fluoride Action Network

Southampton/Hampshire: 9,500-name petition demands that decision is overturned

Source: This is Hampshire | May 15th, 2009 | By Jon Reeve
Location: United Kingdom, England

THEY’RE going right to the top.

Anti-fluoridation campaigners are to take their battle to Downing Street as they try to overturn the controversial decision to add the chemical to Hampshire tap water.

Activists from Hampshire Against Fluoridation are to deliver a petition calling for the scheme to be scrapped to the home of Prime Minister Gordon Brown next month.

More than 9,500 signatures of residents upset at the plans, which HAF says represent mass-medication and remove their rights to choose, have already been collected.

The group is hopeful that by the time it is delivered, there will be more than 10,000 names on the petition.

“We’ve had an excellent response,” said organiser Caroline Place.

“But we’re still coming across people who don’t know there was a consultation, so the message still needs to get out there. I would personally like to see many more names on the petition.”

The campaigners will be joined by Hampshire MPs Julian Lewis, Chris Huhne and Sandra Gidley when they take the petition to Number Ten on June 9.

Afterwards, they will meet members of the All Parliamentary Group Against Fluoridation to discuss their campaign.

“We want to get across to them the situation here in Southampton, what has happened with the erosion of local democracy, and to put pressure on them to help get the decision reversed,” said Mrs Place, 51, from Shirley.

“It’s a case of forging strong links and seeing how best we can move ahead to get it stopped.”

Fuoride is set to be added to the tap water of nearly 200,000 homes across two-thirds of Southampton and parts of Eastleigh, Totton, Netley and Rownhams, possibly as soon as next year.

The 12 board members of South Central Strategic Health Authority unanimously backed the scheme earlier this year, following a 14-week public consultation.

Fluoridation was proposed by city health chiefs as the best way to improve Southampton’s poor record on dental health in children.

More than 10,000 responses were received during the consultation. Of those from people in the affected area, 72 per cent expressed opposition to the plans.

In a separate phone poll of 2,000 residents, 38 per cent said they were against fluoridation, compared with 32 per cent who said they supported it.