Can't wait to download the latest new songs from your favourite singers and bands? Find out release dates right now.
Legal Challenge To Fluoridation Plan
A health authority's been accused in the High Court of unlawfully attempting to force through the fluoridation of Southampton's tap water.
The legal challenge was brought by Southampton resident Geraldine Milner, backed by local campaign groups.
Ms Milner's counsel David Wolfe told a judge that, if the scheme goes ahead, the mother of three teenagers would be left "with no choice but to drink water to which fluoride has been added''.
As opponents of fluoridation demonstrated outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mr Wolfe said approximately 195,000 people in Southampton and parts of south-west Hampshire "would have fluoride added to their water whether they liked it or not''.
He told Mr Justice Holman this was contrary to Government policy that no new fluoridation schemes should be introduced unless it could be shown that the local population was in favour.
The South Central Strategic Health Authority (SCSHA) used statutory powers to instruct Southern Water, the local water provider, to go ahead with fluoridation in February 2009 to improve dental health.
The controversial decision came after 72% of those who responded to public consultation opposed fluoridation, with just 28% in favour.
An opinion poll commissioned by the SCSHA produced a narrower result, with 38% against the scheme and 32% in favour and 29% "don't knows''.
Mr Wolfe accused the SCSHA of failing in its legal obligation to properly assess the cogency of the arguments for and against mass fluoridation.
Mr Wolfe said today's application for judicial review was not about the actual merits and health arguments over fluoridation, which were "not all one way by any means''.
It was about the legality of the compulsory scheme, the first of its kind in the UK for 20 years.
Mr Wolfe said: "Four out of five local authorities and three out of four local MPs expressed their opposition within the consultation process.''
He added: "Ms Milner is in good company, whether she is right or wrong.''
The health authority is opposing Ms Milner's legal challenge.
In a two-day hearing, John Howell QC is arguing on behalf of the SCSHA that the authority was required to make a decision on the merits of the scheme, having taken into account local opposition.
But the authority was not legally bound to give effect to whatever the majority of consultees thought, one way or the other.
James Eadie QC, appearing for Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, is supporting the SCSHA's stance.
Arriving at court today, Ms Milner said her family had no need of fluoride in their water, which the authority particularly wanted to introduce to prevent dental decay in children.
Ms Milner said:
"We do not wish to have it.
"What has not been listened to is that there are cheaper, thoroughly researched and proven, effective ways of targeting children who are at risk of dental decay.''
The case today was not about the safety of fluoride, but about whether the SCSHA had acted legally in making its decision.
"It is about whether an unelected body have the right to do this when 72% of respondents to the consultation said no.
"It is about Southampton residents' fundamental freedom of choice over their bodies and rights to democracy and justice.''
Elizabeth McDonagh, chairman of the National Pure Water Association, which campaigns against fluoridation, described it as a very important case because of its general implications for democracy.
Ms McDonagh said:
"Politicians both in Parliament and outside Parliament have said over the years that fluoridation would never be imposed on a community - and yet SCSHA is doing just that after they had a consultation with the public in which 72% of the 10,000 responses from the local community came out against fluoridation.''
A phone poll supposed to reflect the views of a mix of the local population also opposed fluoridation, even though by a reduced margin.
"It is absolutely clear, the SCSHA wholly ignored local people's views,'' said Ms McDonagh.
Stephen Peckham, chairman of Hampshire Against Fluoridation, said there was ``huge controversy'' over water fluoridation.
"Other countries, including Canada, Ireland and now even the US, are actually lowering the amount of fluoride.''
This was because of health concerns, particularly over dental fluorosis, in which tooth enamel was damaged by too much fluoride.
There were other health concerns, although medical sources had conceded not enough was known about either the effectiveness of fluoride, or the safety of fluoride in water.
Mr Peckham added that strategic health authorities were facing abolition, and the SCSHA scheme was likely to be the last one to be permitted by such an authority.
"In just over a year's time it will be up to local authorities to take over these responsibilities,'' he said.
"Everybody elected democratically in the local area is against it. Local people are against it, but the SCSHA is determined to go ahead.
"The SCSHA has put aside £400,000 to fight their case after already spending over £500,000 on the consultation itself.
"An enormous amount of public money has been spent, but I cannot see there is any value.''
Recently Played Tracks
More music news
From 'Pray' to their newest single 'These Days' - EVERY hit the fans wanted was in there!
The singer reveals that the chart-topping band will "finish some bits off while they're on the road" before the release of album number 5.
The producer posted a photo of Zayn with his daughter, confirming that he is working with the ex-One Direction star on new music.
C. Breezy shows off SERIOUS skillz in this clip... before it all sadly goes a little wrong!
When fans threw a piñata of Naughty Boy’s face on stage during One Direction’s tour, no one expected quite the response they got from Louis…
Could Sam Smith's original prediction for the Spectre theme song become a reality? Ellie's latest Instagram post definitely seems to confirm it!
Rumour has it that Tay Tay and Calvin might be working on a new song together – because what else would a superstar supercouple do with their spare time?
When Yeezy’s mic cut out in the middle of his Pan Am Games performance, the ‘All Day’ singer was NOT impressed…
Following several other huge covers over the past few weeks, Kelly SMASHES her latest pop reworking.
Check out the boys' HILARIOUS diary from being out on the road this year.
A shark popping up during Taylor’s performance of ‘Bad Blood’ can only be aimed at one former friend…
The latest whispers suggest Kanye and co want to be frozen when they die so they can come back to life!
The UK star is linked to a recurring role in FX's new medieval drama The Bastard Executioner.
To celebrate the gorgeous Brad’s birthday, we’ve picked out his funniest moments to prove just why he’s one of our favourite frontmen.
The 'Never Let You Go' four-piece head out on the road to show off their incredible live show from October.
Have you ever wondered what all of Biebs’ tattoo designs ACTUALLY mean? We’ve got you covered…
Phwoar! Suddenly Monday just got better after Liam Payne ended up baring his chest during 1D's latest tour date in Minneapolis.
There’s literally no song on earth that David Guetta won’t work his magic on – even your favourite nursery rhymes aren’t safe.
We’re starting to think Ed Sheeran’s moonlighting as cupid – he’s helped yet ANOTHER of his mates pop the question!
Chris and Rita both teased their new collaboration with a SMOKING hot promo picture ahead of the single dropping.
The UK singer reveals his album title AND an amazing new track from the record.
It sounds like a new showbiz romance could well be on the cards between this pair.
Oh hey girl! Even Britney Spears takes a day off from being all glam and stuff from time to time.
Check out some of the funniest, hilarious and most amazing outtakes from the band's live shows.
We really can’t keep up with these two – the Katy Perry and John Mayer relationship saga continues, and it looks like the couple are off again.
The perfect cure for when you’re going stir crazy in your hotel room? Backflips and the worm, according to Breezy!