Philip follows eccentric TV prof into battle against the eco-warriors (and his own son)

A fight between greens pitches a gun-toting royal father against the heir he thinks is a tree-hugger, writes Severin Carrell


A battle royal has broken out over the fate of Britain's countryside. In one camp stands one of Britain's most famous conservationists, Professor David Bellamy, and his powerful new patron, the Duke of Edinburgh.

But an even more powerful alliance is being formed against them, which features one of the Prince of Wales's closest and most trusted advisers - his "green guru" Jonathon Porritt - as well as many of Britain's most prom-inent environmentalists.

The focus of the battle is a new polemic on the state of rural Britain by Professor Bellamy, which carries an admiring foreword by Prince Philip. But for many critics, it is a book that throws into sharp relief the deep divisions over environmentalism between father and son.

The two have often fallen out over the past few years. Prince Charles allegedly accused his father of "vandalism" for felling dozens of ancient oaks and chestnuts at Windsor 12 years ago. His father said his critics were "tree huggers". More recently, GM crops and animals have divided them. Prince Philip likened GM science to selective breeding by farmers. His son, just weeks before, claimed GM techniques were distorting nature.

In his book, Conflicts in the Countryside: The New Battle for Britain, published by the legal stationers Shaws, Professor Bellamy echoes much of Prince Charles's own agenda. He champions wildlife-friendly farms in the Lake District, cereal bars made with "conservation grade" oats, the restoration of ancient woodland and saving the ring ouzel and rare butterflied bird from extinction. But he singles out for attack some of the biggest issues on the green agenda: climate change, windfarms, saving endangered birds of prey and the campaign to stop one of the world's largest quarries being built on an idyllic Scottish island.

In his short foreword to the book, Prince Philip accuses Britain's leading environment groups of creating unnecessary confrontations. "There seems to be mounting intolerance and a lack of trust between factions," he says. "Instead of looking at the whole picture and trying to find compromise solutions, an increasing confrontation and antagonism seems to have developed between the various interests, all of whom should be on the same side."

Mr Porritt describes that argument as "bizarre". The claims, he said, "are completely counter to what's going on. There's more and more proper partnership ... It's pretty damn impressive really. The idea that environmentalists ... are making the situation worse by not settling for sensible compromises is honestly very bizarre."

Professor Bellamy rejects the near universally accepted evidence for man-made climate change, claiming that "water vapour" is the most significant greenhouse gas. The Kyoto Protocol on climate change is "hot air". Recent temperature rises are, he suggests, part of the Earth's natural cycle of ice ages and warm periods. "If all the carbon dioxide was removed from the atmosphere," he writes, "life as we know it would come to an end."

Windfarms are singled out for particular abuse. He brands them "silver satanic windmills" and "high-rise junk", which "do nothing to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide". He insists they kill "tens of thousands" of birds and bats.

He goes on to claim that a vast quarry on the idyllic Hebridean island of Harris should have been allowed - on the grounds it would stop other small quarries being built elsewhere.

These claims were roundly denounced by Tony Juniper, chief executive of Friends of the Earth, as "bonkers" and "confused".

For increasing numbers of Britain's most prominent environmentalists, these claims have destroyed Professor Bellamy's status as one of the great pioneers of the modern green movement.

Mr Tindale said: "The most dangerous thing about Bellamy is that he enables those for whom it's convenient to dismiss climate change to pretend there's still a debate about the science. The stuff he's saying about climate change is complete nonsense."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas