More than 5,500 churches including some of the UK’s most famous cathedrals have converted to renewable power to tackle climate change, it has been revealed.
York Minster is one of 15 Anglican cathedrals to have signed up to a green electricity tariff, alongside Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Quaker and Salvation Army congregations.
Church leaders say climate change is “one of the great moral challenges of our time”, which hurts the poor first and worst.
With an average church electricity bill of around £1,000 a year, it is estimated that the move away from fossil fuels has diverted more than £5m from the sector to clean energy providers harnessing sunlight, wind and other renewable sources.
The number of cathedrals to have made the switch is down to the Church of England’s procurement group, Parish Buying. Other churches have made the move through the Big Church Switch campaign run by Christian Aid and the Church of England’s Environment Programme.
Parishes can sign up to the national church buying group, 2buy2, which pools the combined buying power to negotiate the cheapest possible tariff.
Often the renewable energy tariff is cheaper than the fossil fuel-dominated one they were on before, Christian Aid said.
The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, said: “Climate change is one of the great moral challenges of our time and so it’s fantastic to see churches doing their bit to ensure they reduce their impact on the environment.”
He added: “Climate change is an enormous injustice and is hurting the poor first and worst.”
The former Archbishop of Canterbury and chairman of Christian Aid, Dr Rowan Williams, said the Church of England had agreed to sell its shares in fossil fuel companies not on track to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement on tackling climate change.
He urged the Government to set a target to cut UK emissions to zero overall by 2050.