Classic British apples may die out and be swapped for New Zealand and Japanese varieties, as climate breakdown means traditional fruits are no longer viable.

Apples like the Pippin or the ancient Nonpareil, grown in Britain since the 1500s, are struggling in a changing climate because the trees don’t have enough “chill time” to go dormant over winter and conserve energy for fruit growth.

Scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, are planting 40 apple trees, a third of which are traditional varieties that once grew in its Georgian kitchen garden. Another third are new varieties that require less cold in winter, and the final third are from warmer countries, including South Africa. Varieties will be compared to see which have grown best in London’s warmer temperatures.

The important word there is the last third of that quote. OK, so the temperature will change in London. As will Broome, Sheffield, Newcastle, Dundee and Thurso. There is currently a temp gradient as we move north, as there will be in the future. At that time certain apple varieties would do best 10, 20, 50 miles north than they do now. As Scotland is not well known as a source of apples we have quite a large area to move them.