Gloucester gets an EV, Lichfield gets bronze Rocha Award

09th November 2021

As we move into the final week of COP26, Lichfield and Gloucester cathedrals share the steps they have taken towards safeguarding creation and working to be good stewards of God’s earth.

Lichfield Cathedral marks COP26 with its first Eco Award and Gloucester Cathedral gets its first electric vehicle.

Lichfield Cathedral has just announced it has been awarded Bronze Eco Church by the Christian charity, A Rocha UK that works for the protection and restoration of the natural world and is committed to equipping Christians and churches to care for the environment.

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, said:

“Receiving this award in the week in which the world’s eyes are focussed on COP26 demonstrates that we are serious about being an Eco Cathedral. 

“We have plenty of challenges ahead, be that insulation in the Cathedral or increased biodiversity in The Close. We’re hoping to install cycle racks and are committed to developing links with local environmental organisations. Together with the Cathedral School, we took part in Churches Count on Nature and each week we share a new lifestyle tip with the congregation.

Lichfield Poppy Fields Light and Sound show is running now.

Gloucester Cathedral has just unveiled its new electric vehicle as part of its commitment to reaching carbon net zero by 2030. The Vauxhall Vivaro-e will be used by the Cathedral’s maintenance and stonemasons’ teams to support upkeep of the historic site.

It is the latest in a series of green initiatives at Gloucester which has already achieved Eco Church Bronze and a Green Tourism Silver award.

This month also marks the fifth anniversary of Gloucester’s solar panels. Installed in November 2016 with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, they consist of 150 panels and produce over 25 percent of the building’s energy.

Gloucester is the oldest cathedral in the world to take this step and the project was included as a case study in a recent report published by heritage coalition Historic Environment Forum, released ahead of COP26, to showcase how UK heritage sites can deliver climate change solutions.

The Dean of Gloucester, the Very Revd Stephen Lake said:

“Caring for our planet is a fundamental part of our Christian life. We have placed environmental sustainability at the heart of the Cathedral’s business planning, and whilst there is still a long way to go, we are proud to be playing our part in the Church of England’s goals to reach net zero by 2030.”

Leaders from 196 countries have gathered for this major environmental summit. It comes just weeks after the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the stark warning that described global warming as a “code red for humanity”.

Many of our cathedrals have renewed their efforts to be eco-churches. Almost half of all the 42 Church of England cathedrals have achieved an Eco Church Award –including two golds and six silvers, and all of them have signed up to the Eco Church journey.

Some of our cathedrals have solar panels, others electric vehicles, we have swapped lightbulbs for more eco-friendly LEDs, we have got rid of disposable cups and plates, we have planted wildlife meadows and woodlands, we’ve created bug hotels in our grounds to encourage diversity, have compostable waste, and two of our cathedrals have installed bee hives on their roofs and collect and sell honey.

Canon David Primrose, who led Lichfield’s application for the Bronze A Rocha Award said,

“Eco Church has provided a structured format for us to consider our environmental impact. A Rocha recognise the complex nature of our heritage buildings. We discovered there were many areas where we were already following good practice. It’s been really easy to see how everyone has a contribution to make. As well as recognising where we’ve qualified for Bronze, it has also enabled us to identify many areas for potential improvement so we can make progress towards Silver. All these activities are helping us to reduce our carbon footprint and to play our part in helping those whose lives are affected most by climate change.”

Take part in Gloucester Cathedral’s first ever ‘Stone Auction’