Fluoride Action Network

Two More Councils in England Vote Against Fluoridation

Source: International Fluoride Information Network | April 14th, 2002
Location: United Kingdom, England

Dear All,

A few days ago I received news from Liz Vaughan about a victory in the UK. I asked Liz for more details, and it looks as if we have had at least two victories (Allerdale and Buttermere).

Here are both of Liz Vaughan’s emails and my query.

If you wish to congratulate Liz and the others who worked on this battle, here are their email addresses: Liz Vaughan , Roy and Carol Smith , Dianne for Cumbrians Against Fluoridation (no email address available) and Jane Jones . If there are other key people I have not listed perhaps Liz will forward your messages to them.

Many thanks and Congrats to all.

Paul Connett.

Dear Paul,

Great news, I gave a presentation to Copeland Borough Council with my opponent Dr Peter Tiplady who is medical officer of health for North Cumbria. Then the full council went into debate. Copeland have been members of NWCAF* since 1989. They voted 28 to 12 with one abstention to continue opposing fluoridation and to ask the water company and health authority to stop.

The other council in West Cumbria which is a fluoridated area is Allerdale which has always had a policy FOR fluoridation and it has taken a number of years to get them to hold a debate. However every three months they publish a council newspaper and send it to every household, so they consulted this way with the people. 83% of the people who responded wanted the council to oppose fluoridation, so they were literally forced to have a debate.

They set up a task group to study the evidence and adopted Dr Tiplady on it. We wrote letters of objection but they took no notice. I attended their final meeting as a member of the public as they had asked Dr Tiplady for references on reduction of IQ’s in children. I knew he would not produce them so I calculated that I could possibly interupt the meeting with the references. This I did but I had interupted twice before because he could not answer the councillors questions, I did this politely.

The task group voted to recommend to the council that they reverse their policy on fluoridation on the freedom for the people they represent to choose what medication they wanted – not to have it compulsory added to the drinking water supplies. The full council voted 30 to 12, with 5 abstaining, to reverse their policy on fluoridation.

However the job is not finished. Our task now after stopping fluoridation in Buttermere is to stop fluoridation in West Cumbria. NWCAF will put all our efforts into this.

Liz Vaughan.
North West Councils Against Fluoridation.


* Note about NWCAF:

North West Councils Against Fluoridation is a consortium of 28 (now 30) community councils in England, from Carlisle in the North down to Manchester, and includes large councils such as Liverpool City Council and Lancashire County Council – all opposed to fluoridation.


—– Original Message —–
From: Paul Connett
To: liz vaughan200
Sent: Friday, April 12, 2002 1:56 PM
Subject: Re: Cumbria UK

Dear Liz,

This is very exciting news but I am a little confused about which councils did what. Where does Buttermere fit into all this? Could you give me an explantion of the jurisdictions involved here and the dates when the votes were taken. Many, many thanks. We need another victory to report!



Dear Paul,

Let me start at the beginning. NWCAF was formed in 1988. West Cumbria was fluoridated between 1969 and 1971. It is not a large area on the coast and not terribly accessable (it is the area around Sellafield!) It was the region of Cumberland County Council and in 1969 and 1971 their elected health committee made agreements with the council-run water boards to fluoridate. So strictly speaking these were council internal agreements. In 1974 there was local government reorganisation and Cumberland County Council ceased to exist. A new council, Cumbria County Council, was formed to cover the whole of Cumbria not just the small portion that was Cumberland. Also the old town councils in the area became Allerdale in the North and Copeland in the South. The health committee of Cumberland which consisted of elected councillors became North Cumbria Health Authority and members thereafter became appointed. To become a member of a Health Authority one has to apply to the cabinet office, so as you can see, it then becomes political appointees who are paid in the region of £6000 per annum. I think you could say that democracy was stolen. At the same time in 1974 the council water boards throughout the North West were collected together by the government and became North West Water and in the 90’s were sold off and became United Utilities.

After that came the 1985 Water Fluoridation Act and the 1991 Water Industries Act which says that a three month consultation period must take place before any fluoridation takes place but areas where there were fluoride agreements in place were exempt. Both new councils debated the subject and Allerdale supported fluoridation and Copeland were opposed and in 1989 became members of NWCAF.

Buttermere is a small village on the shores of the lake surrounded by mountains. One has to drive over a pass to reach it. It lies in Allerdale’s constituency and thanks to Carolyn and Roy Smith we discovered that they were ‘improving’ the water supply and had laid the pipes to close Buttermere’s little treatment works and hitch the water supply to the fluoridated supply from the treatment works at Ennerdale. We said you can not do this as you have not had a three month consultation process, to do so would be breaking the law. This resulted in a meeting hosted by Copeland Council between United Utilities, Health Authority, representatives from both councils and NWCAF. The meeting was chaired by Dr Paul McCormick Barrister-at Law in his capacity of legal advisor to NWCAF. A few weeks later we heard that United Utilities had reconsidered the options and were going to upgrade the treatment works at Buttermere.

In the meantime Allerdale Council decided to consult with their constituents. 83% of the people that replied said that the council should reconsider and oppose fluoridation. The council decided to set up a task group to consider the evidence, both Jane for NPWA, Dianne for Cumbrians Against Fluoridation and myself for NWCAF submitted evidence. The Task Group met three or four times to consider the evidence, adopted the pro-fluoridationist Dr Tiplady from the Health Authority on to their group ‘to answer their questions’. We of course all protested.

I attended the last meeting and as Dr Tiplady was unable to answer their questions I answered them briefly and politely from the public who were not supposed to speak. I am very pleased that I was not told to sit down and shut up. The Task Group recommended the council to reverse their decision and oppose fluoridation which they did. This is a tremendous victory to change a council from over thirty years of supporting fluoridation. This took place on Wednesday 10th April 2002.

On Tueday 9th April 2002 member council Copeland Borough Council renewed their opposition to fluoridation and voted to ask United Utilities and the Health Authority to stop fluoridation. With both councils now opposed NWCAF will also be asking for fluoridation to be stopped in West Cumbria. If we succeed this will be a very great victory.

Liz Vaughan.
North West Councils Against Fluoridation.