should consult local people on the decision to fluoridate water
supplies were published today by public health minister Melanie
The draft regulations require SHAs to publish proposals to fluoridate
in the local media, and consult on the decision for three months.
SHAs would only then ask the water company to fluoridate if the
response to the proposals was predominantly in favour of
Ms Johnson said:
'The oral health of the population has improved dramatically in the
last 30 years, but there remain unacceptable inequalities - children
in parts of the North of England have on average twice as much tooth
decay as those in some other parts of the country.
'Fluoridation can reduce dental decay as is clear from areas in the
West Midlands and the North East of England where water is
fluoridated. However it should not be imposed by central government
- local communities must decide whether they want fluoride added to
their water supply.'
1. Section 58 of the Water Act 2003 amended Sections 87 -91 of the
Water Industry Act (WIA) 2001 to put water companies under an
obligation to agree to requests from Strategic Health Authorities to
fluoridate but only after they had consulted on the proposal. Section
89 of the WIA requires that SHAs comply with regulations governing
the conduct of these consultations.
2. The Department of Health wishes to consult on the content of
regulations before they are laid before Parliament for debate. The
draft regulations and an explanatory note are available
Comments need to be submitted by 29 October 2004.