HC Deb 13 June 1996 vol 279 c414
7. Mr. Clifford Forsythe

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the operation of the drinking water supply system in Northern Ireland. [30929]

Mr. Moss

The Department of the Environment's water service assesses the drinking water supply system on a continuous operational basis. A water resource strategy has recently been completed and reviewed in the light of experience of the 1995 drought.

Mr. Forsythe

As the vast majority of Northern Ireland's local councils oppose the fluoridation of drinking water in Northern Ireland, will the Minister assure the House that the will of the people and of elected representatives will prevail in this matter, rather than that of unelected and unrepresentative board members?

Mr. Moss

Boards must take into consideration district councils' views, but they must also consider their duty to improve the health and social well-being of their populations. Until I have considered the requests from health and social services boards in detail, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the consultation exercise, but it is vital for them to demonstrate appropriate and thorough consultation.