Page last updated at 19:24 GMT, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 20:24 UK

Toxic case council lodges appeal

Child's deformed hand
The children were born with deformities to their hands and feet

A council found negligent in its clean-up of former steel works which may have led to birth defects has lodged its appeal against the High Court ruling.

The families of 16 children last month won a legal battle against Corby Borough Council in Northamptonshire.

The young people claimed their birth defects were due to their mothers being exposed to toxic materials.

The council said the appeal against the judgment was lodged shortly before the deadline for such a request.

On Tuesday night, councillors voted to appeal against the High Court judgement and the appeal was lodged on Wednesday.

'Not fair'

They agreed to adopt a "twin-track approach" to dealing with the High Court ruling, which will see the council start mediation with the claimants and families involved in the case.

Speaking after the meeting, council chief executive Chris Mallender said the cost of appealing would run into six figures, but he said it would be worth it as the council could recover some costs if it won.

Now the appeal has been lodged, the trial judge will decide whether or not to grant permission.

If he does not, the council can submit an application to appeal directly to the Court of Appeal.

 Families with children suffering from birth defects
The mothers either lived in or regularly visited Corby while pregnant

On Tuesday, Sarah Pearson, the mother of 15-year-old Lewis - who had birth defects, said the council's decision to appeal the High Court ruling was "not fair" on the children.

Some of the people affected have missing or under-developed fingers and three have deformities on their feet.

Ten thousand jobs were lost when the 680-acre British Steel works in Corby closed in 1980.

Its buildings were gradually demolished, with waste removed to a quarry to the north of the site.

During the case the mothers told the High Court they had either lived in or regularly visited Corby while pregnant.

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