A VETERAN campaigner against fluoride in water supplies has told senior councillors she is concerned the procedure could be included in a borough’s new strategy to improve children’s teeth.

Mrs Linda Forrest, the chair of East Lancashire Against Fluoridation, came to Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive board meeting on Thursday night as it approved a new £120,000 a year Oral Health Improvement Strategy.

The borough has the highest proportion of five-year-olds experiencing decay in England, with 51 per cent having at least one decayed, missing or filled tooth.

He intervention came as Tory group leader Cllr John Slater, a supporter of fluoridation, said: “We should all be ashamed at the state of dental health in the borough. We are all culpable. We have failed the people.”

Mrs Forrest, 74, from Wilpshire said: “ Blackburn with Darwen Council new oral health strategy includes the fluoridation of public water supplies.Why is the Council now promoting water fluoridation when it had a long-held policy of opposing it?

“I have been campaigning against this since 1988. There is no question of consent if fluoride is in water. It is indiscriminate.”

Cllr Damian Talbot, the council’s health boss, said: “I know fluoridation is an issue people on all sides have strong feelings about.

“Thirteen years ago Blackburn with Darwen Council passed a motion officially opposing the fluoridation of water supplies. As it was passed by Full Council this remains the position.

“Blackburn with Darwen has amongst the worst standards of oral health in the country – on some measures the worst. This is not something to be proud of.

"Good oral health in childhood leads to good oral health in adulthood, and conversely bad oral health can impact on an individual for their whole life. I am passionate about the need to improve oral health.

“In the document reference is made to lobbying for a water fluoridation scheme.

"It is clear water fluoridation is regarded as one of a number of measures that can be used to tackle poor oral health and I would therefore consider it entirely appropriate.

“This does not mean the council has changed its position. It would require the Full Council approve a new policy before this can be changed. We would allow opponents of fluoridation to make their case at that meeting.”

Mrs Forrest said: “I was concerned the council was trying to bring in fluoridation through the back door.I am pleased at the assurance we would allowed to make our case against it to the full council meeting.”