A HAMPSHIRE council has elected a new leader after the previous incumbent resigned following a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency.
Cllr Barry Rickman, 63, quit as head of New Forest District Council last month after he appeared in court and admitted breaking environmental laws.
The new leader of the Conservative-controlled authority is his former deputy, Cllr Edward Heron.
Cllr Heron, who represents Downland and Forest ward, was elected at the latest meeting of the authority and immediately paid tribute to Cllr Rickman, saying he had provided “excellent leadership” over the past 12 years.
Cllr Heron is also a member of the New Forest National Park Authority, the New Forest Verderers, and Hampshire County Council’s ruling cabinet.
As reported in the Daily Echo, Cllr Rickman, of Heron Close, Sway, appeared at Southampton Magistrates’ Court on March 12 to face charges relating to a scrapyard.
He admitted he knowingly caused/permitted a person to operate a regulated waste operation facility that dealt with the deposit, treatment and/or storage of waste without an environmental permit.
His brother Robert, 67, who gave his address at Rickmans Scrapyard, appeared in court alongside him.
He admitted conducting/causing or knowingly permitting activity in contravention of an environmental permit in relation to the waste operation.

District Judge Richard Blake, who referred to asbestos and end of life vehicle disposal, said the two men would be sentenced on July 28.

He said: "Quite clearly the land needs to be made good. This is in a rural area and is clearly a curse on the community in the position it is."

Cllr Rickman, who was first elected to the authority in 1983, represents the Sway and Boldre areas.

As leader of the authority he chaired meetings of the cabinet and the full council and was also chairman of the human resources committee.

Speaking after his resignation as leader Cllr Rickman was reluctant to go into detail but referred to "the pressure that has been brought in some quarters".

He praised Cllr Heron, saying: “I couldn’t have wished for someone who has been more supportive."