A bakery has been honoured for its work in transforming an industrial estate into a haven for wildlife.
The Village Bakery is the first ever organisation in the county borough of Wrexham to be presented with an environmental and social sustainability award by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW).
Among other things, the Village Bakery has created three new wildlife meadows on their land on Wrexham Industrial Estate which are helping to save the endangered Grizzled Skipper butterfly and the bee population threatened by a loss of habitat.
The eco-friendly firm also plans to create a nature reserve in six acres of adjoining woodland next to the bakery.
The broad leaf woodland dates back to the 17th century and includes native species like oak, ash and willow.
It’s known there are tawny owls nesting there and it is also an important habitat for greater crested newts.
Since 2012 the Village Bakery – which has two bakeries on the industrial estate and another in Minera – has slashed the use of electricity by 18 per cent
They have also installed more than 1,000 roof-top solar panels. The 250 kilowatt system means in summer they are able to run their bakery just on solar energy during the majority of daylight hours.
Peter Alexander-Fitzgerald, Vice Chair of CPRW, said: “The Village Bakery deserves this award for the genuine concern it shows for the environment.
“Obviously, any commercial company has to think in terms of the bottom line but the Village Bakery is combining an understanding and use of nature.
“You’ve got an organisation here that respects the landscape that it’s in and actually does something to support it.
“If more people could see companies doing this sort of thing then it would make the country itself more attractive to small and medium sized businesses and would make the local population more welcoming to industries who actually have the sensitivity of mind to look after the landscape they’re in.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Christine Evans, chairman of the Clwyd branch of CPRW.
She said: “What the Village Bakery have shown is that you can be environmentally friendly and succeed in business at the same time, and that’s an important message.”
The drive to be eco-friendly has been co-ordinated by the Village Bakery’s business and sustainability executive, Ashley Dawson.
He said: “I’m really proud. It’s been a lot of hard work in the past few years concentrating on sustainability to be recognised by CPRW for our improvements is a great pat on the back for us.
“There are now half measures with what we do at the Village Bakery. If we do anything, we do it right – whether it’s the quality of our products or looking after the environment.
“This award will spur us on in our quest to continue improving. We won’t settle for okay with our products, and it’s exactly the same with anything else that we do. If we do something we do it a 100 per cent to the best of our ability.”
Village Bakery managing director Robin Jones was equally proud.
He said: ““It’s a fantastic accolade and it’s always great to be recognised for your effort by a respected organisation like CPRW.
“They were very thorough when they came to judge us and they looked at the whole of the business, from recycling, to energy production, to energy reduction.
“It’s in our DNA to work in conjunction with the environment and it’s all credit o my dad Alan, the company chairman, because he has worked this way from day one.”
As part of their Village Green campaign to make the business more sustainable, the family run firm has teamed up as official partners of the North Wales Wildlife Trust.
Jonny Hulson, the North Wales Wildlife Trust’s living landscape officer for Wrexham Industrial Estate, said: “This is exactly the kind of thing we need to be seeing with businesses like the Village Bakery showing their commitment and their enthusiasm for the environment that they’re operating in. Hopefully this will encourage more business to follow suit.”