Proposal to cover Norfolk church roofs in solar panels

6:30 AM May well 11, 2022

A UEA philosophy professor and previous Member of the European Parliament has proposed covering the roofs of every single Norfolk church in solar panels. 

Professor Catherine Rowett, who represented the East of England in Brussels from May well 2019 to January 2020, explained putting in panels on churches for community strength use was a “win-acquire situation” for all concerned. 

The plan was floated at a current discussion organised by the Norwich Society, where prof Rowett – a Eco-friendly Get together member – explained: “I experienced a venture to get the job done to get solar panels on the roofs of all church buildings in all villages in Norfolk – mainly because each church has a substantial, south-dealing with roof.

“There are quite excellent programs that you can get that are suitable with heritage rules and you could have group minibuses that are charged from these things. 

Catherine Rowett for byline picture

Previous Green MEP professor Catherine Rowett
– Credit history: copyright ARCHANT 2017

“It would be a get-win predicament and would create a seriously good end result for every community that experienced such a detail.” 

In remarks this 7 days, prof Rowett discussed that she began searching into the notion in direction of the end of her time as an MEP, and that she would preferably like to return to it at some phase.

“It was partly in gentle of a report I’d experienced done termed Energising the East and that experienced proposed community electricity projects,” she reported

“I wrote to all the Church of England dioceses in the East and I received some responses, and went to see the diocese environmental officer in Chelmsford.”

Proposals for solar panels have sparked controversy in the Norfolk village of Aldeby.

Solar farms are now an increasingly common sight in Norfolk’s agricultural landscape
– Credit score: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

Despite the fact that the arrival of the Covid pandemic experienced slowed down the project’s progress, prof Rowett claimed some promising photo voltaic initiatives experienced been started off in pieces of the region, albeit with comparatively handful of in Norfolk so far.

She extra churches could try to turn into not just carbon-neutral, but present strength rewards to the communities they provide also, this sort of as by electric minibuses. 

The plan of putting in panels on church buildings was welcomed this week by the Diocese of Norwich – whose Bishop, Graham Usher, has been appointed by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as direct bishop for the natural environment.

Barbara Bryant, a member of the diocese’s ecosystem doing work team, reported: “Solar panels could be suitable for rural church buildings in slightly larger sized settlements, in marketplace towns and city parts. 

Barbara Bryant, a member of the Diocese of Norwich Environment Working Group.

Barbara Bryant, a member of the Diocese of Norwich Ecosystem Operating Group.

– Credit: Diocese of Norwich

“There are many factors to consider into thought, such as charge, upkeep and preserving the heritage of what are typically detailed structures.

“However, church buildings have always been adapted down the generations and this is the challenge for today’s worshippers to locate ways to help this ongoing improve to occur sustainably.

“We are actively supporting our church communities who are trying to get to do this in imaginative and creative techniques.

Ms Bryant pointed out the Church of England has presently drawn up a route map to web zero by 2030 and the vast the vast majority of Norfolk’s rural churches “have a very small carbon footprint”.

“There are numerous tasks previously underway to decrease our carbon footprint of our church buildings, clergy housing, offices and schools.

Thieves have stolen the lead from the roof of All Saints Church in East Winch. Picture: Ian Burt

Norfolk church buildings like All Saints in East Winch (pictured), could play host to an array of solar panels, under the previous MEP’s proposal.
– Credit: Ian Burt

“Many of our churches have now signed-up to the ‘eco church’ scheme, which presents a framework for applying environmental and biodiversity challenges across each factor of our joint dedication to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the lifestyle of the earth.

“It covers every single area of our lifetime as a Christian group, from the administration of church properties and church land, to life-style and group and worldwide engagement. It is at the heart of our Christian religion.”

A tried out and tested strategy

The idea of church buildings and other religious buildings taking part in host to solar panels is not a entirely new a person.

Gloucester and Salisbury’s cathedrals have had panels loaded on their rooftops considering that 2016 and 2020, respectively.

Even fairly little churches this sort of as St John’s in Outdated Trafford, Manchester and St Peter’s in Petersfield, Hampshire, deliver tens of thousands of kilowatts of energy per calendar year from their individual solar arrays.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Bishop of Norwich, the Ideal Revd Graham Usher
– Credit rating: Copyright: Archant 2019

In the meantime in Norfolk, the Rt Rev Graham Usher, the Bishop of Norwich, has not too long ago introduced a consultation to take into consideration new approaches of utilising some of the county’s fewer-made use of churches.

As a previous ecologist, and the Anglican church’s direct on the atmosphere, Bishop Usher has been tasked with acquiring innovative techniques to respond to weather modify – increasing the query of whether or not photo voltaic tasks could be bundled amongst them.