CAMPAIGNERS have been left open-mouthed after a senior councillor has said he is in favour of fluoridation - in spite of being a member of an anti-flouridation group.
Councillor Tim O'Kane decided it would be a good idea to introduce fluoride into Hyndburn's drinking water to improve dental hygiene.
His vote of confidence followed a decision by Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Primary Care Trust which to promote the idea as a way of safeguarding children's teeth.
But Mrs Linda Forrest, chairperson of the Fight Against Fluoridation Blackburn, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley, revealed Councillor O'Kane is on a North West Councils Against Fluoridation panel.
But Councillor O'Kane told the Observer: "Historically the council has always been represented on the North West Council's anti-fluoridation group by the councillor with responsibility for environmental health. That responsibility passed to me under the new cabinet system.
"While I appreciate that there are arguments on both sides, my overall view is that we should support the health professionals and hope that this step can help tackle the very real problems of poor dental health in the area.
"As for the anti-fluoridation panel the reality is that this group has not met for over a year and I feel the issue has moved on. To be honest I can't tell you much about that group and I haven't received any communication from them.''
Mrs Forrest said: "A survey was done of all the local councils in the North West and 27 out of 31 were against fluoridation. Hyndburn Council is one of them. When a council is opposed to the idea they are invited to send a representative to join the panel."
The idea is now set to go before health authorities around the north west but it is expected to be some time before any final decision is made. The public will also have to be informed but it is not yet known what form this will take.