AN animal burial site is to be investigated by European commissioners after claims that it is in breach of European laws.

North-East Euro MP Stephen Hughes has backed a bitter battle at Tow Law, County Durham, to close a foot-and-mouth disposal site which protestors fear is harming their health.

He advised the Weardale campaigners to send a complaint to Margot Wallstrom, the Environmental Commissioner in Brussels, and ask for an immediate investigation into the legality of the site.

Mr Hughes said: "I'm very concerned about the site.

"There are three pieces of legislation that appear to not have been observed - the environmental impact assessment, ground water pollution and environmental pollution control.

"In Maff's eagerness to deal with a very, very difficult problem, short cuts have been taken that should not have been and are posing a potential danger to residents and children."

The protestors have submitted a dossier outlining the problems and European legislation which they believe has been breached. The commission will be obliged to investigate.

If it finds the rules have been breached, the Environmental Commission will then advise the government to take action and if that fails the case could go to the European Courts of Justice in Luxembourg.

The Ministry of Agriculture (Maff) said it could not comment.

Protestor Syd Worgan said: "The town council is looking to take Maff to the British courts and we're looking to take them to the European courts - so they're getting hit from all sides."

Protestors brought their concerns about the Inkerman burial site to the attention of Agriculture Minister Nick Brown on Thursday night, at the successful ballot for his constituency in Newcastle. He asked for details to be passed to him.

Read more about foot-and-mouth here.