A HAMPSHIRE council boss who admitted breaking environmental laws will not be investigated under the authority's code of conduct rules.

The leader of New Forest District Council, Cllr Barry Rickman, appeared at Southampton Magistrates' Court last Friday in case brought by the Environment Agency.

But a council spokesperson said: "This matter relates to Mr Barry Rickman in his private and personal capacity.

"It is not a code of conduct matter as it does not relate to Mr Rickman acting in his official capacity, as a councillor. The council will not be commenting further.”

Cllr Rickman, 63, of Heron Close, Sway, pleaded guilty to a charge that 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 authorisation of an environmental permit.

His brother Robert, 67, who gave his address at Rickman's 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.

The offences were committed at Lower Mead End Road, Sway, between November 17 2017 and October 9 2020, the court heard.

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."

As reported, the Liberal Democrat opposition group has called on Cllr Rickman to stand down as leader of the Tory-controlled council.

Cllr Jack Davies said: “How can the Conservatives say, with a straight face, that they want to protect the environment if they let their leader get away with this?

"Therefore, it is with deep regret that we call for Cllr Barry Rickman to resign as leader of the council so that people’s confidence in the council can be restored.”

District councillors who acquire a criminal record do not automatically face action under the authority's code of conduct.

But the council's website says its monitoring officer is entitled to dismiss a member if the conduct complained about happened in the councillor’s private life, not when they were acting as a councillor”.

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

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