Heineken hits back at accusation of ‘environmental vandalism’

Heineken has hit back at claims that it committed “needless environmental vandalism” by chopping down a huge apple orchard.

The global brewer behind Bulmers and Strongbow cider cut down the orchard, which was the size of 140 football pitches, in Monmouthshire, south east Wales.

Heineken said it wants to sell the land and said it made the decision following a slowdown in demand for cider and an increase in the yield of apples.

The BBC reported that environmentalists are concerned about the effect on migratory bird populations.

 But Heineken insisted it had acted by the Wildlife Act.

The BBC also reported that people whose homes overlook the orchard, which spans several large fields, said they were “sad” and “disappointed” the trees had gone, 

Ecologist Chris Formaggia, who knows the area well, said: “So this orchard was absolutely teeming with these winter thrushes.

“I think inevitably there will be a big loss here, particularly with those wintering populations.

“That foraging and that safety of the trees has gone and it’s not going to be replaced.”

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) accused Heineken of an act of “needless environmental vandalism”.

CAMRA cider and perry campaigns director Gillian Hough said: “Orchards provide a unique habitat for wildlife, including species that can only make their homes in trees of this kind.”

In response, Heineken said it was “incredibly important that we act responsibly and sustainably at all times” and the move was made by the slowing cider market and improved growing practices.

It added: “We firmly remain a cider, beer and pub company. The cider market has declined over the last few years, but we are absolutely committed to investing in the segment and returning it to growth.”

In February this year, Heineken said it had reduced its absolute emissions across scope 1, 2 and 3 by 21% since 2018.

Nature and the environmentPolicy

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