Prince William on climate change in Norfolk and elsewhere: ‘If we all work together, we can make a difference’

The Duke of Cambridge discusses his hopes for the planet in Prince William: A Planet For Us All Pic

The Duke of Cambridge discusses his hopes for the planet in Prince William: A Planet For Us All Picture: Oxford Film/ITV - Credit: Archant

Prince William tells of his love for Norfolk and his fears for how climate change could impact on his favourite corners of the county in a TV documentary being screened tonight.

Cameras follow the Duke of Cambridge to locations including Pakistan, Tanzania and an East London wetland during Prince William: A Planet For Us All (ITV, 9pm).

But the prince sets the scene at Sandringham, a place where he says he feels “especially at home”.

“I’ve always loved nature but fatherhood has given me a new sense of purpose,” the 38-year-old second in line to the throne continues.

“I feel it is my duty, and our collective responsibility to leave our planet in a stronger position for our children.”

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Prince William says Sandringham, the Queen’s 20,000-acre estate near King’s Lynn, is like “a slice of the British countryside in miniature”.

“There are ancient woodlands, working farms, even a stretch of wild coast,” he adds.

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Accompanied by oyster catchers and their piercing cries, the prince says: “It takes me back to my childhood hearing that noise.” At Wolferton, where banks protect reclaimed marsh from flooding, he later adds he has seen the tide come within millimetres of overwhelming the defences.

“You suddenly realise these extreme events are going to happen more and more often in the future,” he says. “Also how low-lying, particularly this part of East Anglia all is.”

The prince adds without drastic action, the sea could sweep in.

“You’d lose the wildlife habitat, you’d lose the farming, you’d lose the communities,” he goes on. “It’s in everone’s interest that we protect these sorts of areas. We have to get on top of climate change issues.”

At an event in Birkenhead, the Duchess of Cambridge names a new ship after Sir David Attenborough, before the couple meet with him privately afterwards and discuss their hopes for finding solutions to the climate change crisis.

Orince William adds: “Every generation, you know, after yours, David, has grown up listening and seeing all the things that you’ve shown them. And, hopefully, each generation listens a little bit more.”

Sir David shares his optimism: “The public is becoming extraordinarily well informed it seems to me. Kids know an awful lot now about ecology and what’s happening with the world. It’s remarkable.”

Prince William’s passion for conservation started in his youth when he visited Africa and the documentary follows him as he goes back there and visits rhinos in Tanzania. As he feeds a carrot to a rhino called Deborah, Prince William talks about poaching and his fear of rhinos and elephants disappearing forever.

Prince William is visibly moved as he visits a heavily-guarded secure ivory store in Tanzania where 43,000 tusks with a street value of £50m have been impounded.

During the hour-long programme, the duke also visits a beach in Anglesey, north Wales, with the Duches of Cambridge, to help with a litter pick.

The couple are also seen on a trip to Pakistan where they are shown the effects of global warming at the Hindu Kush mountains where glaciers are melting at record speed which could eventually lead to a shortage of fresh water.

At the end of the programme, Prince William says that he believes that 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic has given people a chance to take stock of what is important.

He says: “I can’t talk about coronavirus without mentioning how many people sadly lost their lives and how terrible and sad that all is,” he says.

“But I think the tiny little ray of light, if there is any ray of light from this, is that is allows us to take stock and to refocus our priorities.

“Someone has to put their head above the parapet and say, I care about this. To have the belief that if we all work together, we can make a difference.”

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