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."

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam