Prince Charles criticised over helicopter flight to event about reducing emissions

2 February 2020, 10:00

Clarence House said the prince's carbon footprint was offset. File pics.
Clarence House said the prince's carbon footprint was offset. File pics. Picture: PA

Prince Charles has been criticised for flying hundreds of miles to and from an event where he spoke about reducing aircraft emissions.

The royal travelled to Cambridge University on Tuesday to meet with scientists at the Whittle Laboratory, who are leading research into decarbonising the aviation industry.

But it was the prince's mode of transport that was called into question after it was revealed he had used a helicopter to travel to the engagement.

The prince met with scientists at the Whittle Laboratory
The prince met with scientists at the Whittle Laboratory. Picture: PA

The helicopter trip between Highgrove and Cambridge racked up an estimated 368-mile distance, costing around £12,000.

The flight would reportedly have created around 2.5 tonnes of carbon emissions, which could have been cut to 0.2 tonnes if he had driven.

"He wants to play the role, but not walk the walk," the chief executive of campaign group Republic, Graham Smith, said.

He added: "His view seems to be that it's one rule for him and one rule for the rest of us.

"Driving or using the train would have been pretty easy."

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Clarence House later defended the 71-year-old by saying he wasn't involved in deciding his transportation and that his carbon footprint is offset each year.

"The prince is not personally involved in decisions around his transportation arrangements, though he ensures all carbon emissions are offset every year," a spokesperson said.

"They are made based on what is possible within the constraints of time, distance and security.

"In order for him to undertake as many engagements as he does across the UK and around the world he sometimes has to fly.

"As he has often said, as soon as there is a more sustainable way of making these journeys, he'll be the first to use it."

It is not the first time the Prince of Wales has received criticism for his mode of transport.

He recently raised eyebrows after flying 16,000 miles ahead of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, where he met teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.

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