Hampshire against fluoridation

Tap water

I have received an email from campaigners against the fluoridation of Hampshire’s drinking water. The text is as follows

On Thursday 26th February, non-elected members of South Central Strategic Health Authority will meet in Southampton to finally decide whether to go ahead with controversial plans to add fluoride to the water of Southampton, Eastleigh & Totton. This meeting is open to the public. This decision will affect us all.

Join campaigners at 1.00 pm at the main entrance to the football stadium to support the final protest to keep this chemical out of our drinking water. Details as follows

Thursday 26th February at 1:00pm
St. Mary’s Football Stadium
Britannia Road
Southampton SO14 5FP

For more information about this or the campaign against fluoridation, contact Hampshire Against Fluoridation on 02380 493776 or 02392 463761 or visit www.hampshireagainstfluoridation.org.

Councillors reject fluoride

Test Valley Borough Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee has voted to oppose addition of fluoride to the borough’s water supply.

Over the past month the committee has considered submissions from the strategic health authority, local dentists, supporters and opponents of the proposals. This included a special meeting devoted to receiving evidence from both sides of the argument

The committee’s recommendation is as follows

“Having weighed up the evidence presented, this Committee remains unconvinced of the health benefits of fluoridation of public drinking water and therefore recommends to full council that it does not endorse additional fluoridation of the borough’s water supply until such time as evidence of the positive health benefits is produced. The Committee is in favour of using the resources in a more targeted way to improve the dental health of those who would benefit most.”

The recommendation will be considered by the full council at its meeting on November 13th.

As a member of the committee I support of the recommendation. The committee has considered the proposals in detail and found the arguments on both sides to be inconclusive. Low levels of fluoride may have been shown to improve dental health, but there is no clear evidence that addition of fluoride to drinking water is effective or necessary. It is, therefore, inappropriate for us to support addition of fluoride to local water supplies. The resources should be diverted to more cost effective health care initiatives.

Fluoridation update

Readers will be aware that Cllr Alan Dowden and I proposed a motion to council on fluridation of Test Valley’s tap water (see http://lengates.mycouncillor.org.uk/2008/08/14/council-to-debate-fluoridation/). The motion was referred without debate to the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The date and agenda for that meeting has now been set.

The meeting will take place on Wednsday 8th October at 6:00pm at the council’s Duttons Road, Romsey council chamber. The decision to hold the meeting in Romsey was taken because residents in the southern part of the borough, particularly the outskirts of Southampton are most affected by the current proposals.

I have discussed the matter with the chair of the committee and he has decided the whole meeting should be devoted to this issue. There will be presentations from the South Central Strategic Health Authority, a representative of Hampshire Against Fluoridation and a local dentist. Councillors will then be free to quiz all the speakers on the issues.

The meeting like all council meetings is open to the public.  If anyone would like further information please let me know.

Council to debate fluoridation

Tap water

Cllr Alan Dowden has tabled a motion for the next council meeting opposing fluoridation of the borough ‘s water supply. Alan wants the council to make its position absolutely clear before any attempt is made to introduce the chemical into local water supplies.  Hampshire Primary Care Trust is currently planning to add fluoride to the water in Southampton, Eastleigh and Portsmouth and says it has no plans at present to extend the scheme to Test Valley. However Alan believes it essential that Test Valley makes it position clear now. His motion highlights the possible side effects of such an action and concludes “that water supplies at this moment in time should not be fluoridated.”

I have seconded his motion and fully support his stance on unacceptable mass medication based on suspect science. I look forward to the debate and hope all councillors (Lib Dem and Tory) will back this motion. The meeting is on 10 September in Romsey.

In a further development the council’s overview and scrutiny committee decided this week to call the PCT to a future meeting to explain its policy.

Shuttle bus to Winchester Hospital


A new shuttle bus service will be commencing in June for patients needing to get to Winchester Hospital from the Andover area. A pre-bookable shuttle bus (fully accessible and with capacity for 2 wheel chairs) will run four return journeys direct to the hospital. The bus will start from Andover hospital, stopping to collect patients from Andover Bus Station and Stockbridge (at Trafalgar Close, if pre-booked). The journeys will be free for this service. The scheme is being promoted by the Winchester & Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust and is supported by Test Valley Borough Council and Hampshire County Council. Leaflets publicising the new service can be collected from GP’s surgeries, the library, the Council offices, the hospital and downloaded from the Council’s web pages.

I am pleased to see this service finally coming in to operation after many months, if not years of campaigning by Andover councillors in pareticular St Mary’s councillor Rod Bailey. Well done Rod for working as always for the residents of Andover.  

No funding for rat control

Test Valley borough council has withdrawn its free rat clearance service on the ground that there are too many rats. Due to the unusually warm winter there has been a dramatic increase in the number of rodents to the level where the council’s three Pest Control Officers can no longer respond to all public requests for rat clearance. “But if the rat numbers are going up then the Council should resource and fund the pest Control service adequately” said Romsey councillor Mark Cooper. “I was given firm assurances by the Leader of TVBC that rat clearance would continue to be a free service for all Test Valley residents“, yet the very next day The Head of Environment and Health announced to councillors a reduction in the rat clearance service for a period of three months, telling them that people who called in would be advised to refer to Yellow Pages, for details of private pest control companies” he said. TVBC will continue to treat for rodents where the householder has a disability, has pre-school children or is over 60 and in receipt of benefit. The Council will also answer a call out where the source of the rats is open land such as a railway or river. 

The borough council voted on Wednesday not to allocate more resources to rat clearance…the vote was on party lines. However, Conservative Portfolio holder Peter Boulton did concede that “he wanted to deal with the rat problem.” The issue will be discussed at the council’s next Executive meeting.