PRINCE Charles faced ridicule yesterday for taking the Royal train on a week-long nationwide tour to promote cycling.
The prince has ordered the nine carriage train for a five-day, 1300-mile “green tour” of Britain, starting from Glasgow tomorrow.
His trip is aimed at promoting environmentally friendly lifestyles and ethical modes of transport and he has boasted that the train will run on biofuels.
But yesterday experts accused Charles of hypocrisy after it emerged the train would carry just him and a handful of staff. They also questioned whether the train was better for the environment than travelling by car.
Climate change expert Benny Peiser, of Liverpool John Moores University, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said: “This is a clear case of double standards. Prince Charles and other super-rich people are not aware of the discrepancy between what they preach and what they do.
“His lifestyle creates a carbon footprint which is 100 times that of any other person in the UK.
“If he is really concerned about the environment, he should stop using cars, planes, or in this case trains, and practise what he preaches.
“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 biofuels, the journey is still questionable. Biofuels 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 biofuels are pushing up the price of food.”
The Royal train costs taxpayers an average of £52,631 every time it pulls out.
Charles is going to be criss-crossing the country on his five-day jaunt. He will start in Glasgow, before travelling to cities and towns including Edinburgh, Bristol, Newcastle, Manchester and Birmingham.
The Green Party said: “We admire Prince Charles’s passion for the sustainability agenda.
“His support for progressive projects such as cutting fuel bills by installing solar panels is laudable.
“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.”
Green Fuels of Gloucestershire, who supply the biodiesel for the train, claim its carbon footprint was “significantly” smaller than if it ran on fossil fuels.
In the past year, the train was used on 19 occasions, covering an average of 751 miles, at a cost of s1million.
Clarence House said: “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.”
For more information on biofuels and alternative energy, please visit www.sceptreinternational.com