Places of Worship: Net Zero Target

Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons at on 23 June 2022.

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Photo of Nicholas Fletcher Nicholas Fletcher Conservative, Don Valley

What contribution the Church has made towards achieving the Government’s net zero target in relation to its places of worship.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

The Church of England is trying to achieve net zero by 2030. Examples include solar panels on the roofs of Gloucester and Salisbury cathedrals, heat pumps and underfloor heating in Newcastle cathedral and Bath abbey using natural hot spring water. I even have a vicar coming to see me shortly about a tidal power proposition for his church.

Photo of Nicholas Fletcher Nicholas Fletcher Conservative, Don Valley

I recently attended a wonderful service at St Mary’s church in Tickhill; it is a beautiful 12th century church and the pride of Tickhill. However, it is struggling to raise finance to replace its dated heating system. If that was to be replaced with a ground-source heat pump, that would cost in excess of £750,000. What can my hon. Friend suggest to help the church? Many of my other churches will face the same issue, including those in Hatfield, Rossington, Bawtry and Thorne, among others.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

I absolutely get the scale of the challenge as I have similar churches in my constituency, and I know that the churches that my hon. Friend mentioned in Hatfield, Rossington, Bawtry and Thorne will be looking at the issue carefully. In the first instance, I suggest that they look at the diocese of Sheffield’s green energy audit scheme and the “funding net zero” section of the Church of England website. Emissions savings can be made by, for example, switching from oil to under-pew heating from renewable electricity.