Mayor announces landmark “no fluoride” decision for Bedford

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Campaigners against water fluoridation expressed cautious optimism Wednesday night (September 7) after Mayor Dave Hodgson announced that Bedford Borough will not be fluoridated again.

In response to questions from the group, Fluoride Free Bedford, at the council meeting, he said: “Fluoride will not go back into the water, we have decided that. We have to go through a process.

Cynthia Bagchi

Cynthia Bagchi

“There will not be much discussion and officers will move on with the process of making sure that this is a permanent decision.”

His comments follow a unanimous vote by councillors in July to end water fluoridation in the borough.

However, for campaigners the battle will not be over until the decision has been ratified and the Manton Lane facility dismantled, something which did not happen in 2011 after the council voted unanimously to end water fluoridation.

Spokeswoman for Fluoride Free Bedford, Cynthia Bagchi insisted that the group be kept informed on the council’s progress.

She said: “I will be interested to hear what will be discussed later, for we are all eager to see this matter brought to a speedy end.

“It’s very important that we keep our eye on the ball here. I feel very passionately that we should make sure the Mayor tells us every letter that’s going to be written, every sentence that is discussed about this fluoride issue so it’s succinct and not long-winded.

“The fluoridated area is only within the borough boundary, and the Manton Heights dosing tap only needs to be switched off and kept off and dismantled. It’s not a complicated issue.
“It doesn’t have to be long winded and take years for this next process to continue before we then go to the Secretary of State.”

Bedford is being closely watched by other anti-fluoridation groups around the country, says Bagchi, as they want to know how this process is going to take place, how they can do the same thing, because it all changed in 2013.

Under the Water Industry Act 1991, local authorities are responsible for water fluoridation schemes within their respective administrative area. Regulations set out the consultation and decision-making process for local authorities where there is an existing scheme in place.