Royal Family defends Prince Charles flying by helicopter to make speech about the environment

The Prince of Wales arrives at RAF Valley on the Queens Helicopter Flight during the Prince's visit to RAF Valley in Holyhead, Wales.

The Royal Family has defended Prince Charles after it emerged he had flown in a helicopter to give a speech about lowering aircraft emissions.

The Prince of Wales took the private aircraft for a 100 mile journey from Highgrove to Cambridge to speak to scientists from Cambridge University’s Whittle Laboratory.

His journey was said to have cost at least £12,000 and is estimated to have caused about 2.5 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Clarence House, however, defended the Prince over the weekend - saying his emissions were offset by other projects.

The Prince driving an Audi from his fleet of cars. (Getty)

“The prince is not personally involved in decisions around his transportation arrangements, though he ensures all carbon emissions are offset every year,” a spokesperson said.

“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.”

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It is estimated that Charles could have cut his emissions down to just 0.2 tonnes if he had travelled by car.

Campaign group Republic’s chief executive Graham Smith told the newspaper: “He wants to play the role, but not walk the walk.

“His view seems to be that it’s one rule for him and one rule for the rest of us.

“Driving or using the train would have been pretty easy.”

Research carried out by BBC News last year found Prince Charles was by far the highest spender on transport, with his annual costs totalling more than £1 million last year.

He recently faced criticism for flying 16,000 miles in private jets and helicopters in the days leading up to this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Prince Charles was also slammed after after making a speech in 1991 on "monstrous" cars only to have his favourite Bentley driven 800 miles to then-Czechoslovakia ahead of a visit.

And back in 2015 he argued that people should save energy by turning off their lights, shortly before using a private helicopter for an 80-mile journey.

Figures published by the royal household showed that the royals made a total of 207 trips by helicopter last year, and 56 flights on specially-chartered planes.