THE long-running row over putting fluoride into the drinking water of 200,000 Hampshire residents is heading for a court showdown, the Daily Echo can reveal.

Council chiefs are launching a legal challenge to the controversial scheme that could see the plan killed off in the High Court.

Plans to put fluoride into the tap water of homes in parts of Southampton, Eastleigh, Totton, Netley and Rownhams were given the go-ahead in 2009.

The plans, which were initiated by the South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA), sparked fierce resistance from campaigners.

They say there are unanswered questions over the health issues around drinking fluoride in tap water and that the people affected should be the ones to decide whether it is introduced or not.

The SHA, which was axed by the Government last year, had always argued introducing it would benefit public health and its successor organisation Public Health England (PHE) had vowed to plough on with the plans.

But following legal advice, Hampshire County Council leader Roy Perry and Southampton City Council boss Simon Letts be-lieve the scheme no longer exists due to a failure to hand over vital documents from the SHA to PHE.

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