Environmental Issues & Net Zero


In February 2020 General Synod set in motion that the Church of England would aim to be Net Zero by 2030. This was a radical and ambitious step, leaping ahead of the initial 2045 proposal and some way ahead of the current government’s 2050 target.

To achieve this, every parish will need to consider the way they heat and light their church buildings, the way they operate on a daily and weekly basis, how people travel around and how they manage their churchyards.

The proposal stated:

That this Synod, recognising that the global climate emergency is a crisis for God’s creation, and a fundamental injustice, and following the call of the Anglican Communion in ACC Resolutions A17.05 and A17.06;

(a) call upon all parts of the Church of England, including parishes, BMOs [Bishop Mission Orders], education  institutions, dioceses, cathedrals, and the NCIs [National Church Institutions], to work to achieve year-on-year reductions in emissions and urgently examine what would be required to reach net zero emissions by 2030 in  order that a plan of action can be drawn up to achieve that target;

(b) request reports on progress from the Environment Working Group and the NCI’s every three years beginning in 2022 and;

(c) call on each Diocesan Synod, and cathedral Chapter, to address progress toward net zero emissions every three years.

Things we can do to help achieve Net Zero:

¨ Switch to 100% renewable electricity

¨ Upgrade & improve lighting to LED lamps and fittings

¨ Improve heating controls by optimising heating settings

¨ Draught proofing

¨ Improve the efficiency & longevity of existing heating system

¨ Install solar panels

¨ Use energy saving devices

¨ Change heating system to a new one

¨ Reduce background heating hours or temperature

¨ Install a new more efficient gas boiler

¨ Add insulation to loft areas or cavities

¨ Double/secondary glazing

¨ Behavioural changes

Basic zero carbon principles:

> Well maintained  

> Buy renewable 

> Waste less 

> Electric not gas or oil 

> Generate more 

> Offset the rest

Help and Guidance for Parishes

Net Zero and Faculty Changes March 2024

The Churchcare website: for all aspects of Net Zero plus details of helpful webinars

The CofE Energy Footprint Tool: enter your utility bills, and find out your “carbon footprint”

The Practical Path to Net Zero Carbon for Churches: 

Parish Resources Website for Areas of Funding: links to funds for church works

Parish Buying Website: a buying service set up by the Church, for the Church

Eco Church by Rocha UK: award scheme for churches who demonstrate their eco works

Caring for God’s Acre: the investigation, care for, and enjoyment of burial grounds and graveyards.

Tree Preservation Orders and Conservation Areas: legal guidance 
Climate Resilient Church

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