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"Enormous potential" for energy in churches

by Michael Ford last modified 18 Dec, 2020 08:58 PM

Bishop Nicholas has been in the House of Lords this week and has been concentrating minds on environmental issues.

Joining the Lords virtually, the Bishop raised the Government’s missed targets for tree planting, welcomed the Energy White Paper, asked about the significance of local energy schemes and the potential of churches especially in rural areas for electric vehicle charge points.

On 14th December during exchanges in the House of Lords on work of the Committee on Climate Change, our Bishop asked about tree planting targets.

He commented that the Government’s manifesto committed to planting 30,000 hectares of trees per year and that was “a really key target to aim for in relation to the Climate Change Committee’s report, but it is one that we have missed by 71% in the last year and consistently over previous years.”

He added:

“I much admire the Prime Minister’s ambition, but how are the Government to ensure that performance exceeds or matches that ambition?"

Lord Callanan on behalf of the Government replied that Bishop Nicholas was right that "meeting these commitments will be a difficult, long-term task."

He added that it would "require commitment from Government and also from Parliament, local government and other stakeholders", but it is a challenge that we are rising to."

On 16th December Bishop Nicholas responded to a Government statement in the Lords about the Energy White Paper. He welcomed it but said that the pandemic had taught us “the importance of the local”.

He asked:

“What assessment has the Government made of the further potential of local solar, wind and micro-hydro energy schemes and of what finance might be needed to facilitate their collectively enormous potential?”

He also asked whether the Minister might consider the part churches could play in the provision of the infrastructure needed particularly in rural areas.

"Given the comments in the [House of Commons] about the lack of rural infrastructure for energy, might the Minister find it helpful to consider the possibility of churches being places for siting bidirectional charging points for electric vehicles?"

Lord Callanan again responded on behalf of the Government, saying he believed that the grant system for the production of charging points is available to churches, but he would write to the Bishop to confirm this.

He added that Bishop Nicholas was right to say that we need to transform the energy delivery system saying Bishop Nicholas's comments were "well made".

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