South Central strategic health authority has won a lengthy battle with residents who opposed water fluoridation, adding that it will be “several months” before the chemical can be added to the local water supply.

The SHA won the right to add fluoride to water after a High Court judgement.

In a statement the authority said it was “pleased” with the outcome and that the legal process has concluded.

The SHA said: “Throughout this time the SHA board has remained satisfied that water fluoridation at one part per million is a safe and effective way to tackle tooth decay in the Southampton area, and that the health benefits outweighed all other arguments against water fluoridation, including the level of support and opposition.

“The process of adding fluoride to the water in Southampton and south west Hampshire will now continue as planned. 

“It is likely to be several months before the necessary plant and machinery is constructed, operational and ready to commence the process of adding fluoride to the water supply.”

The campaign against the plans, by Hampshire Against Fluoride, had lasted two years.