More churches urged to convert to renewable energy

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AS temperatures soar around the world raising concerns about climate change, more than 5,500 UK churches have put their faith in clean energy.These include more than 100 Anglican churches in Oxfordshire Berkshire and Buckinghamshire and it is hoped that more will follow suit through the national Parish Buying group.

Based on the average annual church electricity bill of £1,000, British churches have diverted more than five million pounds from fossil fuels to clean energy providers.

St Ebbe’s Church in Oxford, is one of those that have switched. Andy Menary, church manager, said: “At St Ebbe’s we spend over £10,000 per year on electricity and are delighted to be part of the energy basket from Parish Buying. They give us access to rates we could only otherwise dream of, reduce the time taken to consider energy contracts, and now have the added benefit of being 100 per cent renewable.”

Janet Rogers, Treasurer of St Sebastian’s Church, Wokingham, Berkshire, said: “Parish Buying is a dream because using its service takes the time and effort out of dealing with each different utility company each time you get a bill. That they are also enabling us to use 100 per cent renewable energy says something positive to me about how they are working.”

The Ven. Olivia Graham, the Archdeacon of Berkshire, is leading on renewable energy for the diocese. She said: “Through the Parish Buying scheme, churches can switch easily to an energy provider that uses 100 per cent renewable electricity. We strongly endorse this. Switching to renewable energy is an important way in which churches can show leadership in protecting our environment.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury and Chair of Christian Aid, Dr Rowan Williams, said: “The Church of England recently took a positive step in agreeing to sell its shares in fossil fuel companies not on track to meet the aims of the Paris climate agreement. Churches are part of a global network and so are often very aware of the plight of our brothers and sisters suffering from droughts, floods and extreme weather around the world.

“The UK Government also claims to care for people living in poverty around the world which is why it would be good to see it commit to setting a net zero emissions target for 2050. That would be in line with the Paris Agreement and ensure Britain remains a green and pleasant land at home and a climate leader abroad.”

The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft is pictured speaking at a recent event at St Ebbe’s, one of the churches that has signed up to Parish Buying.