Out of court settlement for Corby birth defect families

A council embroiled in an 11-year legal battle with families seeking compensation for birth defects allegedly linked to failings in the clean-up of an industrial site in the town has agreed to pay an undisclosed sum to 19 young people.

Corby Borough Council reached a final, binding agreement with the young people and their families ending personal injury claims associated with the clean-up of contaminated land at the former British Steel site in the 1980s and 1990s.

The birth defects included malformed limbs and missing digits.

Des Collins, solicitor for the Corby families, said: “My clients live with the daily reminder of the sub-standard clean-up of the former British Steel plant in Corby.

“Of course, no financial sum can properly compensate for their lifelong deformities and disabilities. However, they are relieved that their long battle is now over.

“Today’s agreement recognises the many years of emotional and physical suffering the 19 families have endured and will continue to endure. It marks the end of an arduous 11 year legal challenge and removes the prospect of further litigation.

“Importantly it also provides a financial award which will help towards the healthcare costs and loss of earnings they will inevitably face in the future.”

“We hope that our experience in this case will also benefit others in the future who have to consider environmental and public health risks from the reclamation of hazardous sites.”

Last year, the High Court found the Council breached its duty of care to these young people in its negligent reclamation of the site.

As a result of today’s agreement, the Council has agreed to drop its challenge to that High Court ruling and instead will immediately pay compensation to each of the children, without accepting liability in this case.

Chief executive of Corby Borough Council Chris Mallender said: “The Council recognises that it made mistakes in its clean-up of the former British Steel site years ago and extends its deepest sympathy to the children and their families.

“The Council sincerely hope that this apology coupled with today’s agreement will mean that they can now put their legal battle behind them and proceed with their lives with a greater degree of financial certainty.”

Sam Bond

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