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Heineken faces backlash over clearing 300-acre orchard for Bulmers Cider

HEINEKEN is under fire for clearing a 300-acre orchard, about the size of 140 football pitches, used to make Bulmers cider. This orchard, known as Penrhos Orchard on the Offa’s Dyke path in Monmouthshire, Wales, has been completely removed by Heineken. They uprooted thousands of trees planted in 1997 due to an excess of apples and declining demand for cider.

Environmentalists are worried about the impact on migratory bird populations, especially wintering thrush species like fieldfare and redwing. These birds rely on autumn berries and apple crops and were abundant in the area.

Despite Heineken’s claim that they followed the Wildlife Act, people on social media are outraged by the environmental damage, calling it ‘violence’ and ‘vandalism’. There are calls to boycott Heineken products, with questions raised about the effectiveness of wildlife protection laws.

Ecologist Chris Formaggia noted the significant change, mentioning that the orchard would have been in full bloom at this time of year, bustling with wildlife. The absence of the orchard greatly impacts foraging and safety for wintering thrush species.

Comments on social media express dismay, with individuals criticising the difference in treatment between farmers and corporations when it comes to environmental regulations.

British Apples and Pears has released a detailed report highlighting challenges faced by UK fruit growers. Confidence among apple growers is low, with 70% feeling less secure compared to the previous year. Nearly half have reduced future investment due to market pressures, indicating a gap between growers and supermarkets that prioritise price over partnerships.

The removal of orchards raises concerns, especially as the Welsh government considers regulations requiring tree growth on 10% of farmland to qualify for subsidies. This highlights broader discussions on sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation.