Southern Water does not currently add fluoride to water in any of the areas it supplies, including Southampton.

However, we are aware that today the strategic health authority has taken the decision to add fluoride to water supplies in Southampton, and by law we comply with their decision.

The South Central Strategic Health Authority has conducted a public consultation on proposals to add fluoride to water supplies within the Southampton Primary Care Trust area.

Southern Water did not form part of this consultation process and the decision to add fluoride and associated cost is one the strategic health authority has taken.

We cannot take a medical or ethical view on the subject. We are not health experts – our expertise lies in engineering and water treatment.

We have offered technical advice and our role in the proposed scheme is to provide information on our water supply system as part of any feasibility study. Southern Water was asked to comment on the operational and engineering aspects and has done so.

Details of the dosing proposals and the areas covered were included within the consultation document published by the strategic health authority. Nigel Smetham, Southern Water’s Head of Water Quality, said: “Southern Water currently does not add fluoride to any of the water it supplies in the South East.

“The consultation exercise on whether to add fluoride in the Southampton area was carried out by the strategic health authority and we encouraged all our customers to take part and make their views known.

“I would reassure our customers that the quality of tap water we supply is among the best in Europe and we are continuing to invest in new plant, technology and pipework to ensure it stays that way and any plant we install in order to add fluoride will be fail safe to prevent any overdosing.”

Each year Southern Water conducts some 600,000 tests on tap water samples, from the beginning to the end of the supply system, to ensure the water is of the highest quality.