Court finds Corby Council negligent in landmark pollution case

Catching up on council news from outside my home patch of London*, here’s a report from The Guardian:

A group of young people who claim an “atmospheric soup of toxic materials” released when an old steelworks was redeveloped caused their birth defects won a landmark ruling today when it was found that the local council had been negligent in its handling of the site.

The high court decision clears the way for 16 successful claimants, who are aged between 11 and 22 and have missing or underdeveloped fingers or deformities to their feet, to set out to prove their individual disabilities were caused by Corby borough council’s failings when reclaiming the former British Steel plant. Compensation could run into millions of pounds if they succeed…

The council said it was not prepared to apologise unless a causal link was proved between the reclamation works and the defects suffered by the claimants.

“We are not yet at the point of saying sorry because nobody yet is responsible,” chief executive Chris Mallender said. “Our position has always been that there was no link between the reclamation work that was carried out in Corby in past decades and these children’s birth defects. That is still our position.”

You can read the full report here.

* I do wonder if this had been a London council whether this story over the years would have got rather more national media coverage than has been the case. It’s got all the raw material for a major, on-going media story: personal tragedy, legal drama, scientific controversy and a progressing story.

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