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 Road.cc, 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."