A former National Farmers Union leader has admitted allowing the illegal dumping for waste at his farm near Kingswear.
Richard Haddock pleaded guilty to six environmental offences which related to the illegal disposal of waste at fields at his Churston Court Farm in South Devon.
Haddock, aged 65, of Kingswear, admitted five counts of failing to comply with or contravening Environment Agency permits between 2010 and August 2020 and one of operating a regulated waste activity not in accordance with a permit.
The charges specify that he imported waste onto his land that did not have the chemical, geotechnical or biological characteristics which were set out in his permits from the Environment Agency.
Another five charges, which alleged similar offences, will not be proceeded with. Some alleged that he allowed shellfish waste from commercial fishing to be dumped on his land.
Haddock had been due to face a four-week trial at Exeter Crown Court in November but changed his plea to some of the charges during a case management hearing.
Judge Stephen Climie adjourned the case until July 31, when a sentencing date and a timetable under the Proceeds of Crime Act will be set.
He released him on unconditional bail but told him that this was no indication of the eventual sentence. He said: “That will depend on the sentencing judge’s view of the seriousness of the case.”
Mr Adrian Chaplin, defending, said he is planning to obtain up to date evidence of Mr Haddock’s ill health before the next hearing.
Mr Haddock was one of Britain’s most high-profile farm leaders in the 2000s and10s and stood for the chairmanship of the NFU in 2000 before withdrawing his candidacy.
He served as the chairman of the NFU’s Livestock Committee in 2003 and led calls for Britain to retaliate against bans of meat imports by European Union nations during the BSE and Foot and Mouth crises.
Haddock farms land between Brixham and Kingswear, near Dartmouth, and is alleged to have committed the regulatory offences between 2008 and 2020.