30/07/2009 10:11 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Children With Birth Defects Win Legal Action Against Council

Children with birth defects have won a landmark legal action against their local council which they blame for their condition.

Eighteen young people aged between nine and 22 say Corby Borough Council exposed them to an "atmospheric soup of toxic materials" when it reclaimed a former steelworks.

It has now emerged that more than 75 families could be affected by what may be the biggest child poisoning case since thalidomide.

The council was yesterday found liable at London's High Court – but is still denying liability and won't apologise.

The Northamptonshire council says it was not negligent when it carried out the work at Corby's former British Steel plant between 1985 and 1999.

But the parents say there is a link between the removal of waste, and deformities affecting the hands and feet of their children. They are now likely to try to claim for millions of pounds in compensation.

The mothers told the court that they either lived in or visited Corby regularly while they were pregnant.

The judge's ruling yesterday was the first time that a court has found that toxic material in the air can be absorbed by pregnant women and is capable of causing serious birth defects, according to the children's solicitors.

Mr Justice Akenhead found in favour of 16 of the 18 claimants but said his ruling on liability did not cover the two youngest claimants.

The judge said there was a "statistically significant" cluster of birth defects between 1989 and 1999.

The solicitors said the judge wholly accepted the children's parents' account of the conditions in Corby during the works, and described the parents as "wholly honest".

The question of causation will be decided at a later date.

Corby Borough Council's chief executive Chris Mallender said: "We are obviously very disappointed and very surprised at the outcome of this trial.

"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."

Source: AOL News