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Charles’s dirty secret: Diesel generators power winter lights display at Sandringham

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Charles’s dirty secret: Diesel generators power winter lights display at Sandringham, after Prince warned at Cop26 we were in the ‘last chance saloon’ to tackle climate crisis

  • At Cop26 climate summit this month in Glasgow, Charles made an impassioned plea to stop climate change
  • But it emerged a winter lights display at Sandringham – which he largely runs – is running on diesel generators
  • The Luminate attraction at Queen’s Norfolk estate is powered by the generators, along with other attractions
  • The show uses some 60,000 bulbs. Visitors pay up to £18.50 to follow the mile-long trail, which features 13 installations. The night-time light displays operate for at least four hours a day

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At the Cop26 summit this month he made an impassioned plea to stop climate change and warned we were in the ‘last chance saloon’.

But Prince Charles’s green credentials were called into question yesterday as it emerged a winter lights display at Sandringham is running on diesel generators.

The Luminate attraction at the Queen’s Norfolk estate is powered by the generators, along with a funfair and car park floodlights erected for the five-week event.

Fair-y lights: Helter skelter, chair swings and big wheel glow in the twilight in this picture showing Henry Chipperfield 1906 Vintage Fairground at Sandringham House in Norfolk. The house is now largely run by Prince Charles

Fair-y lights: Helter skelter, chair swings and big wheel glow in the twilight in this picture showing Henry Chipperfield 1906 Vintage Fairground at Sandringham House in Norfolk. The house is now largely run by Prince Charles

Heir of authority: Charles is largely running Sandringham, above, to ease some of the responsibilities from The Queen

Heir of authority: Charles is largely running Sandringham, above, to ease some of the responsibilities from The Queen

They¿ve got the power: Huge machines carried on trailers seen at the attraction that runs for five weeks until December 19

They’ve got the power: Huge machines carried on trailers seen at the attraction that runs for five weeks until December 19

Prince Charles¿s green credentials were called into question yesterday as it emerged a winter lights display at Sandringham is running on diesel generators

Prince Charles’s green credentials were called into question yesterday as it emerged a winter lights display at Sandringham is running on diesel generators

Visitors saw six machines around the estate, which is now largely run by Charles in an effort to shoulder some of the Queen’s day-to-day tasks.

At the summit in Glasgow, Charles warned that ‘the future of humanity and nature herself are at stake’. 

Despite his powerful speech, the Luminate show uses some 60,000 bulbs. Visitors pay up to £18.50 to follow the mile-long trail, which features 13 installations. The night-time light displays operate for at least four hours a day.

Generation game: Chunky diesel units next to the fairground in Norfolk

Generation game: Chunky diesel units next to the fairground in Norfolk

Beam me up: Strong lights glow from ground along one of the paths on the trail even in the daytime

Beam me up: Strong lights glow from ground along one of the paths on the trail even in the daytime

Glowing gateway: Visitors gather by twinkling arch next to Luminate logo. Luminate - a private company - operates the trail

Glowing gateway: Visitors gather by twinkling arch next to Luminate logo. Luminate – a private company – operates the trail

Buckingham Palace declined to comment about the use of diesel generators on the trail, which is operated by the private company Luminate. 

It was not known if the Queen or Charles were aware of the decision to use generators to power the public attraction.

The Luminate website states: ‘Wherever possible we use mains power. Where generators are needed, these are carefully specified and operated to ensure the most efficient fuel usage.’  

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