Prince Charles criticised for meddling after landmark farming speech: ‘One rule for him!’

Prince Charles: Farming can play a big part in protecting planet

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Prince Charles has been attacked by Republic, an organisation campaigning for the abolition of the monarchy and the election of the UK’s head of state, after he delivered an essay focused on the threat posed to the country’s “precious landscapes” and small farmers by intense industrial farming. In one tweet, the Prince of Wales was accused of “wading into politics”.

The organisation wrote: “Charles wading into politics again.

“The environment is political, how we manage food production is political.

“And it’s all very well Charles complaining about ‘plentiful and cheap food’ but most people aren’t on a £20million a year Government grant.”

The Royal Family strives to remain politically neutral not to sway public opinion and, as a result, does not cast a ballot during local and general elections.

However, both Prince William and Prince Charles have been campaigning on issues regarding the environment and sustainability for years. 

While he takes an apolitical approach in his work, Prince Charles has been accused by critics of delving into the political realms as the environment, climate change and sustainability can be seen as political issues.

Between 2004 and 2005, the Prince of Wales also wrote memos to Tony Blair’s ministers to discuss issues close to his heart – including food served in hospitals an appeal for funds to preserve the huts used by British Antarctic explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Scott.

These messages, which became known as the “black spider memos”, were published in 2015 and were described at the time as “underwhelming” and “harmless”.

Republic’s tweet is also a slight to the income and funding received by Prince Charles and Camilla between April 2020 to March 2021. 

As revealed in the annual review recently released, funding for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall from both the Duchy of Cornwall and Sovereign Grant was down from £24.006million in 2020 to £20.839million this year.

Within this figure, Sovereign Grant funding decreased from £1.762million in 2020 to £0.424million this year.

A second tweet by the group claimed Prince Charles doesn’t follow his own advice when it comes to protecting the environment.

The message read: “To those praising Charles for this, have a closer look at his environmentalism.

“It’s one rule for him and another for everyone else, as he flies around the country by helicopter, takes private jets when going abroad and maintains numerous large homes.” 

While it is true the future King uses private aircraft to move around the country or to travel abroad on certain occasions, his office organises “travel so as to reduce carbon emissions, taking into account security, logistics, cost and other considerations”, the Prince of Wales’ website states.

Charles also drives an Aston Martin running on bio-ethanol and uses a fully electric Jaguar when travelling to engagements in London.

Moreover, Prince Charles and Camilla have made a concerted effort to reduce the use of water and waste across their household and have been reporting its carbon emissions since 2007.

According to the Prince of Wales’ website, across the residences of the royal couple “about 90 percent of energy (including green gas and electricity) for office and domestic use comes from renewable sources.”   

The website continued: “Of this, about half comes from on-site renewable (solar panels, biomass boilers and heat pumps) and about half from electricity and gas purchased from renewable sources.”

In the sustainability report released alongside the financial report, the CO2 emissions of Charles and Camilla’s non-official travel dropped over the past financial year, owing to the pandemic and lockdowns, from 401 tonnes to 156 tonnes.

On the other hand, household emissions from energy use increased by 2 percent from 2020 levels.

The Duchy Home Farm at Highgrove’s emission fell from 1,451 tonnes to 1,124. 

Prince Charles has dedicated the past five decades to champion actions for a sustainable future, including calling for a drastic reduction of plastic waste and food waste.

In his essay, recorded for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Prince of Wales warned this morning “precious landscapes” were being slowly diminished in the name of efficiency, warning that if small family farms go under, it will “rip the heart” from the British countryside.

Food production, he said, has destroyed the soil that grows it over the past 35 years.

The prince said: “How we produce food has a direct impact on the Earth’s capacity to sustain us, which has a direct impact on human health and economic prosperity.

“But our current approach will lead to a dead-end, no matter how cost-effective intensive food production appears to be.”

In his essay, the heir to the throne also said to be hopeful the future generations will drive the change to a more sustainable farming.

The Prince of Wales, who last month opened a new centre for farm and food education, said: “Farming can play a big part in protecting the planet.

“From field to fork extraordinary work is being done to try and build a better food system for everyone.

“Be it Jamie Oliver, promoting education on a balanced diet, Henry Dimbleby’s ambitions for safe, healthy and affordable food or Marcus Rashford, whose mission off the football field is to tackle child hunger.”   

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