Prince Philip is setting a bad example

Last week Prince Philip was involved in a car crash after pulling out of the Sandringham estate in his Land Rover and onto the A149. He’s received a lot of criticism for driving at 97 years old and many people are calling for him to relinquish his licence. The whole affair has outraged me but not because of his age. I think it’s a bit ageist some of the things people are saying. As long as someone is fit and able to drive then I don’t think they should be forced to give up their licence.

What has outraged me are several things. Firstly, I find it objectionable that the Royal Family insist on driving gas-guzzling Land Rovers. They should be setting a better example especially in a time of climate crises where the largest contributing sector to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK is transport. CO2 emissions for the Land Rover range from 71g/km to a whopping 298g/km depending on which model you choose. Compare this to Toyota which starts at 28g/km for the Prius and goes up to 212g/km for the Land Cruiser. The Royal Family could be driving electric vehicles or even hybrids. Better yet, they could learn from Denmark’s Royal family and ride a bicycle. This is Princess Mary of Denmark cycling her kids to school. Not a Land Rover in sight.

You’re never too old to ride a bike. Here are Graeme and Betty (aged 87 and 91) still cycling and loving it:


It’s not just climate change that outrages me about the Land Rover. The Land Rover is a particularly heavy vehicle at 2.2 tonnes. The weight of your average car is 1-1.5 tonnes. A larger and heavier vehicle is going to cause far more damage to other road users in a collision. It may be safer for the occupants of that vehicle but it’s far more dangerous to everyone else, especially pedestrians, cyclists, and young children that cannot be easily seen from inside the vehicle. The formula for kinetic energy is 1/2 times the mass times the square of the velocity and this tells us there’s a direct relationship between the mass of the vehicle and the amount of energy dissipated by it in a crash. Smaller, lighter vehicles consume less energy, produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and make the roads safer.

Then this morning I saw this in my Twitter feed:

Here’s a larger version of the news article.


Calum is right. If I tried to reduce speed limits I’d be campaigning and lobbying for years and probably get nowhere. Prince Phillip is involved in a crash and two days later the speed limit is lowered. Where’s the public consultation? The MP bill? The vote?

To add further insult to injury, a day after his accident the Prince is back in a brand new gas-guzzling Land Rover.