Prince Charles faces criticism over private helicopter use to make speech about lowering aircraft emissions

Prince Charles (Photo: Getty Images)
Prince Charles (Photo: Getty Images)

Cape Town – Prince Charles is the latest royal to face backlash over his use of a private aircraft. His helicopter was flown from Highgrove to Cambridge recently, where the Prince of Wales delivered a speech and saw the work being done by researchers to, ironically, lower aircraft emissions. The justifiable criticism overshadowed the environmentalist's efforts as he launched the UK centre for low carbon aviation, which is due to open in 2022.

"We haven't got time to waste," Prince Charles said at the Whittle Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. "We have run out of time now to rescue this poor old planet from man-made emissions and all the complications we're now facing, all the challenges we're facing."

Prince Charles added, "We have to bring everybody together, so we don't have endless 'argy-bargies' about it," reports BBC.

According to the Independent, the total trip to Cambridge would have caused roughly 2.5 tonnes of carbon emissions and cost no less than £12 000 (R235 293).

In his defence, Clarence House released a statement saying it was not possible to travel by road or rail – and His Royal Highness does not make the decision as to how he travels.

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

This is not the first time the royal family's come under fire for their use of private aircrafts.

Last year, Prince Harry and Meghan received criticism for flying by private jet to take a family vacation. That was for the environmentally conscious royals' holiday, not for an official engagement – and they made the necessary contribution to Carbon Footprint as a result.