Peter Yealands, the founder of Yealands wine group, has admitted to five charges of breaching consent conditions in construction work he carried out. Compost company GrowCo, of which Yealands is a director, also admitted five charges relating to access roads.

Yealands had consent to build 1840 metres of roading, but 900 metres of the road which was eventually built was different to the original plan. The roads dammed two streams and were not built to avoid soil erosion. Dirt and sediment were dumped into the streams as the road were used by trucks. Compliance officers said that if the dams burst, the streams would flood important wetlands.

Marlborough District Council lawyer Antoinette Bezier said that Yealands was “cavalier” in his attitude and knew that what he was doing was illegal.

“Both defendants made the decision to ignore consent conditions,” she said. “There is an ongoing effect on the waterways in that area. There should have been remedial work to ensure the banks were stable.”

Yealands was convicted and discharged, while GrowCo was convicted and fined $14,250. Judge Melanie Harland noted that Yealands has won several awards for environmental protection, and that his actions were on behalf of GrowCo and not for his own personal benefit.