Fluoride Action Network

Southhampton: Solicitors take issue with SHA evidence consideration

Source: Daily Echo | Education Reporter
Posted on February 19th, 2011
Location: United Kingdom, England

THE High Court ruling upholding health chiefs’ controversial decision to fluoridate Hampshire water supplies is to be legally challenged, the Daily Echo can reveal.

Solicitors for Southampton mum-of-three Gerri Milner yesterday lodged an application to appeal against part of the judicial review decision made in London last week.

They want to challenge Mr Justice Edward Holman’s judgment that there were no grounds to consider the case that South Central Strategic Health Authority didn’t fully assess the arguments against fluoridation.

As reported, he expressed sympathy with Ms Milner and other anti-fluoride campaigners, but ruled against her lawyers’ arguments that the SHA should have paid attention to public opinion and that not all board members were fully aware of evidence against the scheme.

Ms Milner told the Daily Echo last night she feels it is essential she doesn’t give up her fight, for which she is receiving legal aid.

She said: “I was absolutely devastated by the decision.

“We have to continue.

“If you look at the polls of public opinion, the taxpayers don’t want it, so I’m sure they don’t mind the tiny proportion more that it’s costing to further the case, compared to what it’s cost already.

“The figures the board was given were based on the best possible prognosis and a very flattering position.

“I believe they didn’t have the right information to make the right decision.

“This is such an important issue – it’s our fundamental right to say what we put in our own bodies and just because its meant to be good for us because someone else says it is doesn’t mean we have to accept it.”

The appeal will not focus on the original claim that the SHA should have listened to public opinion when considering plans to fluoridate water delivered to nearly 200,000 residents in Southampton, Eastleigh, Totton, Netley and Rownhams.

Mr Justice Holman said the law clearly states the authority was not bound by the results of the public consultation, in which 72 per cent of the 10,200 respondents opposed the scheme.

Instead, the challenge will focus on the judge’s refusal to allow a full judicial review of the way the SHA assessed evidence for and against fluoridation.

In court 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’s solicitor, Sean Humber said it is not yet known how long it could take for a decision to be made on the latest application.

A spokeswoman for the SHA, which has set aside £400,000 to fight the legal case, confirmed the authority was aware the appeal application had been lodged.