Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Monday, 16 February 2009

Birth defects court case starts

Eighteen families from Northamptonshire who say their children were born with defects caused by toxic waste have taken their case to the High Court.

Corby Borough Council denies negligence concerning reclamation works at the site of a former British Steel plant.

The eighteen children were born with deformities to their hands and feet.

The children's QC David Wilby said: "These are lifelong deformities which have had, and will have, a tremendous impact in their everyday lives."

The group of 18 young people, aged between 22 and nine, are suing Corby Borough Council in a multi-million pound damages action which will last 10 weeks.

They say the disabilities were caused when their mothers inhaled toxic substances.

'Toxic materials'

Mr Wilby told Mr Justice Akenhead: "These young people have serious disabilities - some of them have missing or undeveloped fingers or no fingers at all, and three have deformities of their feet."

He said one expert, in trying to convey the appearance of the minute particles hanging over the town at that time, had described it as an "atmospheric soup of toxic materials".

The judge will first consider the issue of whether the council owed a duty of care to the claimants during the clean-up operation.

If this is the case the judge must also decide whether airborne pollutants could cause the defects and whether that was foreseeable.

The case continues.

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SEE ALSO
Date set for birth defects case
15 Dec 08 |  Northamptonshire
High Court to hear defects claims
14 Sep 05 |  Northamptonshire

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