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ENVIRONMENT CHIEF PROSECUTES HIMSELF

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The country's chief environmental watchdog is effectively prosecuting himself this week, reported The Independent o...
The country's chief environmental watchdog is effectively prosecuting himself this week, reported The Independent on Sunday (p10).

Baron de Ramsey, John Ailwyn Fellowes, is both chairman of the Environment Agency and director of the family firm, Worlick Farms

Ltd, which the EA is prosecuting for taking too much water from a farm ditch.

He said the firm will be pleading guilty when the case goes to court on Wednesday. The case - described by a senior EA colleague as 'the final embarrassment' - comes as the hereditary peer is about to leave the job early after a controversial tenure.

Since Labour came to power, ministers have been determined to squeeze him out of the job for which he is paid£52,000 a year for a two-and-a-half-day week. He faced resignation calls after he allowed part of his land to be used to test genetically modified beet, sold another part of his estate for housing, and failed to attend publication of a damning report into the agency's handling of the 1998 Easter floods which hit central England and Wales.

Environment minister Michael Meacher is shortly to announce the new chairman of the agency. The final choice is between Sir John Harman, leader of Kirklees MBC, and the present deputy chairman Bryan Sanderson, chief executive of BP Amoco Chemicals.

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