Portsmouth Cathedral gets Silver in the A Rocha’s Eco Church Awards

04th January 2024

Portsmouth Cathedral is the latest cathedral to achieve Silver in the A Rocha’s Eco Church Awards –   a significant milestone in its commitment to environmental sustainability.

Portsmouth Cathedral achieves Silver in the A Rocha’s Eco Church Awards

It is only the seventeenth cathedral to gain Silver and since it was awarded bronze it has undertaken several projects reflecting its dedication to environmental stewardship, including a comprehensive land management plan, altering mowing patterns, establishing wildflower meadows, and creating a hedgehog hotel.

Portsmouth’s biodiversity projects have been made possible thanks to a partnership with the Portsmouth City Council – all steps towards fostering a harmonious ecosystem in the city it serves.

The Eco Church awards are an ecumenical scheme helping churches link environmental issues and their Christian faith and respond in practical action. It awards at three levels, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. All our cathedrals are on the A Rocha Eco Church journey; two have already achieved gold, seventeen silver and twenty have been awarded bronze.

To achieve its silver award, Portsmouth Cathedral has changed to LED lighting, installed double glazing and weather-sealing measures where possible, and the installation of thermal curtains has also reduced energy consumption.

Whilst the Cathedral heating system requires significant investment and redevelopment, the use of smart monitoring devices has helped reduce heating requirements.

Portsmouth Cathedral hosts an annual Sustainability Fortnight – featuring Sustainability Sunday, featuring a guest speaker(s) on environmental issues, whilst also supporting local and international charities such as Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and Toilet Twinning financially.  It has appointed a cycling champion and practical lifestyle tips, spearheaded by the cathedral’s climate champion, Sue Ward, have been integrated into weekly communications to reinforce the collective responsibility towards a greener tomorrow.

Sue said:

“It’s not just about the cathedral, it’s about empowering the community. Conducting home surveys and offering resources to save on bills ensures that sustainability becomes a shared endeavour. We must all make genuine efforts to reduce our carbon footprints and press for changes in national and international policies to make climate justice a reality and save the planet.”

The Dean of Portsmouth, the Very Revd Dr Anthony Cane, said:

“The attainment of Eco Church Silver Status is indeed rewarding, but our commitment to caring for God’s earth extends far beyond accolades. 

“We are resolute in reducing our carbon footprint and achieving net-zero by 2030.  Over the past ten years the Cathedral has taken small, but important steps to reduce its carbon footprint by 50% (35% weather-adjusted).

 “Our recently completed heating feasibility study as well as other projects, reflect our ongoing commitment to continuous improvement in this area, and we look forward to the next stages bringing us to gold status and reducing our carbon footprint even further.”

In the long term, Portsmouth Cathedral envisions a future with a full LED lighting system, enhanced heating efficiency, and a Centenary Capital Project with its environmental  mission at its core.

Portsmouth Cathedral invites the cathedral community and beyond to be a part of the Eco Church initiatives and you can find out more at portsmouthcathedral.org.uk/carbon-footprint.