Heineken agrees to enforcement undertaking after pollution incident

The Environment Agency (EA) has said that the brewer Heineken has accepted an enforcement undertaking (EU) agreeing to pay £160,000 following a pollution incident on a Herefordshire Brook that saw several thousand fish killed.

The Government has given the EA powers to apply civil penalties for certain offences. Civil sanctions such as these can be a proportionate and cost-effective way for businesses to make amends for less serious environmental offences. The primary purpose of the EU is to allow offenders to restore and remediate any environmental damage they have caused.

The 2014 incident at the Heineken Bulmer’s cider plant in Hereford was caused when a container of ammonia-contaminated water was emptied to a surface water drain that connected to the Widemarsh Brook. At the time it was estimated that between 2000 and 3000 fish, including bullhead, minnows, juvenile chub and dace were killed.

The EA warns that failure to comply with an EU may result in the offender being prosecuted for the original offence.

Under the terms of the EU, Heineken will pay £150,000 to the Wye & Usk Foundation and £10,000 to Yazor Widemarsh and Eign Brook restoration project. Heineken has also paid more than £12,000 to cover the EA’s legal costs.

Last updated 15 February 2017