HAMPSHIRE campaigners are calling on the Deputy Prime Minister to scrap the law governing the way fluoride can be added to water supplies.
Nick Clegg has asked people to tell him what legislation they want to see removed as part of a bid by the new coalition Government to amend unpopular laws.
And Hampshire Against fluoridation (HAF) has submitted an appeal for the rules putting the power to decide on fluoride in the hands of health chiefs to be scrapped.
They are now calling on Hampshire residents upset about the scheme – which would affect nearly 200,000 homes in parts of Southampton, Eastleigh, Totton, Netley and Rownhams – to “vote” for their proposal on a Government website.
HAF chairman, Stephen Peckham said: “If you are concerned about this issue, this is the chance to have your say and make a comment.
“The current legislation allows a pro-fluoride organisation – as opposed to an independent body – to carry out a consultation with the local community and then to totally ignore local opinion and impose fluoridation anyway.
“We would like to get a really good response to this in order for the government to take notice and change this unfair law which allows the local community to be ignored.
“People must have the right not to drink water medicated with this chemical.”
The campaign group argues assurances were given when the Water Act was changed in 2003 and 2005 that any fluoridation schemes would not go ahead without the support of the local community.
More than 10,000 people gave their views during a public consultation on the scheme, with 72 per cent of people living in the affected area saying they were against fluoridation.
But South Central Strategic Health Authority’s (SHA) board unanimously approved the scheme, arguing they were convinced by evidence it would improve dental health and not have negative side effects.
The coalition has promised ideas submitted on the website, along with ratings and comments given by other users “will directly inform the Government’s policy making”.
The move comes just days after senior Tories were accused of going back on pledges to look at the rules on fluoridation.
During the run-up to the election, now Prime Minister David Cameron and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley both voiced concerns over the SHA’s consultation and questioned whether the scheme should be going ahead in the face of public opposition.
In the past, Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg has also expressed his opposition to the way fluoridation is being introduced in Hampshire.
He told HAF last year his party believed “people and local communities should have the ability to make their own decisions as to whether or not they should take forms of medication, which – according to the stated purpose – fluoridation would effectively constitute.
“Mass fluoridation of water would leave people with no choice, and we believe that it should not be imposed by Whitehall diktat.”