AN investigation into the effects of burying foot-and-mouth carcasses at a waste tip in County Durham has been completed.

Now, the investigation group, including technicians from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Environment Agency has recommended that limited dumping can resume at the Chapman's Well waste tip, in Quaking Houses, near Stanley.

Yesterday, Durham County Council agreed that a limited amount of waste be buried at the site within 16 weeks.

The investigators said an accelerated tipping programme would enable the dump to be sealed quickly and prevent more water seeping into the infected area.

There was outrage in Quaking Houses and other communities when Chapman's Well was chosen as a foot-and-mouth burial ground at the height of the outbreak last year. The site was chosen despite the fact Durham County Council and Derwentside District Council strongly argued the area was not suitable.

The Government changed its mind about the choice after just six days of large scale animal carcass dumping in March last year. An alternative site was located near Tow Law, which was also highly controversial.

In a report to Durham County Council's planning committee at County Hall, in Durham City yesterday, head of planning, John Suckling, recommended renewed dumping to be accepted.

He said: "This proposal is a consequence of the disruption caused by the emergency measures taken during the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

"The use of the Chapman's Well site for the disposal of carcasses was not supported by either the operator or this authority, but it is now necessary to make progress.

"Independent technical advisors recommend the rapid infilling of the remaining void at the site and these findings are supported by the Environment Agency. Infilling with waste as received from the district, is the most appropriate way forward."

Quaking Houses resident Chaz Brooks said: "I think the majority of people want it sealed and done with. There was some worry that it could be used again when there was the possibility that the disease could flare up again, but thankfully that has not happened.

"Newcastle University is monitoring the quality of water here and, thankfully, it does not appear to be affected so far."