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Prince of Wales' bike-promoting travel plans questioned

Royal Train use wrong given sustainability message, say critics

It may be a case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t, but for those who seek out targets for charges of green hypocrisy, this one was always going to be a bit tempting.

As reported earlier on, The Prince of Wales is to use the Royal Train on a five day tour of Britain promoting sustainable living, with British Cycling as his sustainable transport partner.

While no-one would expect the Prince and his entourage to cycle between the five major cities to be visited during the tour, inevitably questions have been raised about the sustainability of his chosen means of transport. The train will be bio-fuelled we are informed, but this counts for little according to Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation which is chaired by former Chancellor, Nigel Lawson. Peiser told Scotland’s Daily Record:

“It is ironic that he is travelling on a train to promote cycling as a green mode of transport. Even if the train is using bio-fuels, the journey is still questionable. Bio-fuels are morally dubious as they are grains that are grown specifically to be used for energy and not food.

"We have millions of people starving around the world and bio-fuels are pushing up the price of food.”

The Green Party has also added its weight to the debate: "We admire Prince Charles's passion for the sustainability agenda,” a spokesperson told the Daily Record. "But when people are facing cuts in public services, the idea of a private train costing £90,000 more than ordinary first class tickets might seem a bit insensitive."

However, a spokesperson for the Prince of Wales claimed that for this trip, letting the Royal Train take the strain was the best option: "The Prince has not done a tour like this across Britain before. It is not practical to use scheduled trains in such a busy programme which has 10 locations in five days. On this occasion the Royal train was the best solution."


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timlennon | 13 years ago

Honestly, this is poor: how come the original story, while trying to pick holes in the environmental credentials of the trip, can only bollock on about the cost of it?

And the idea that a £90,000 trip "when people are facing cuts in public services" is going to make the blindest bit of difference to what happens to those public services is just lame in the extreme. Charles may have some whacko ideas, but you can only laugh when someone who claims to be a scientist comes up with clearly untrue crap like this: "His lifestyle creates a carbon footprint which is 100 times that of any other person in the UK."

sharpsharp | 13 years ago

The Green Party should stick to the Environmental issues on this one. The Royal Train always sounds expensive when compared to regular tickets, but it is also a mobile hotel. The cost of security clearance for four different hotels would be huge and I'd be surprised if it was less than £100,000.

The Royal Train was due to go the same way as the Royal Yacht after the Queens Golden Jubilee, but when they did the maths they came to the conclusion it was cost effective.

The problem is that the train requires a couple of diesel locomotives. If more of the rail network were electrified then HRH could by his power from a wind farm.

PaulVWatts | 13 years ago

The above gives the impression that the Global warming Policy Foundation is a credible climate change organisation. They are not. Check the following link:

TheHatter | 13 years ago

Never been a fan of the PoW. He harps on about the enviroment but never gave up his Aston Martin and luxury limos - and converting them to run on other fuels is hardly a sacrifice. Plus when was the last time he was ever picture on a bike - if ever?
He could be a real ambassador for commuting on a bike if he showed that you could ride a bike for short distances and still look stylish and dignified (as lets face it Cameron, Livingston and Boris don't promote this). I'm sure he'd look very dapper in some plus fours and tweed.

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