HEINEKEN has paid a six-figure sum to charity after their Hereford plant polluted a nearby brook and killed between 2,000 to 3,000 fish.

At their Bulmer’s cider plant a container of ammonia-contaminated water was emptied to a surface water drain which connected to the Widemarsh Brook, and killed bullhead, minnows, juvenile Chub and Dace.

The Environment Agency (EA) has accepted an offer of £160,000 for an enforcement undertaking from Heineken UK- £150,000 will go to the Wye and Usk foundation and £10,000 to the Yazor, Widemarsh and Eign Brooks restoration project.

The brewer has also paid more than £12,000 to cover the EA’s legal costs and will invest a further £2.5 million to address breaches in effluent management at the site.

EA spokesman Dave Throup said: “It’s very unfortunate that a significant pollution of one of Hereford’s main watercourses happened as a result of Heineken’s actions.

“However, we are pleased that the company is planning to make a positive contribution to the county’s environment by offering this enforcement undertaking and also investing in essential infrastructure on site to prevent future pollution incidents.”

An enforcement undertaking is available to the EA as an alternative to prosecution when taking enforcement action.

It is a legally-binding voluntary agreement proposed by a company when the EA has reasonable cause to suspect that an environmental offence has occurred.

When offering an enforcement undertaking, the company or individual is required to focus upon accepting culpability, demonstrating restoration of harm and ensuring future compliance as well as making a suitable offer to pay an appropriate environmental charity.

A spokesman for Heineken said they were pleased to confirm their financial support for two local community organisations.

They added: “Our support has come as part of an agreed settlement with the EA, relating to an isolated incident that occurred in early 2014.

“Regrettably, a contractor working on our site failed to dispose of waste material in the correct manner.

“This was a clear breach of our usual policies and industry best practice. Since then, we have cooperated fully with the agency’s investigation and fully accept their findings. Since the incident, we have taken steps to tighten up our procedures; and have carried out further training of colleagues and contractors to ensure that it will not happen again.

“As part of our agreement with the EA, we were happy to take up their request to work with organisations focused on the environment.”