Faculty granted for Air Source Heat Pumps, to replace an old electric boiler heating system.

The vicar and churchwardens sought permission to replace the existing gas fuelled heating system with a new one, including a new boiler, pipework, radiators and controls in the unlisted, twentieth century church. The Chancellor granted a faculty. The judgment contains some comments by the Chancellor about the need for churches to work towards carbon neutrality.

The Chancellor granted an interim faculty for a new church boiler, in view of the urgent need to replace the old boiler. The Chancellor had reservations about approving a gas-fired boiler, bearing in mind the policy of the Church of England to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. However, a new gas-fired boiler would have an estimated life of 15 years, at the expiration of which period new carbon neutral options may be available and affordable. The evidence was that the current annual cost of running an electric boiler would be over four times the annual cost of running a new gas-fired boiler.

The proposed works comprised the installation of a new heating system; the installation of an additional toilet; and the reconfiguring of part of the building used as the ‘Youth Room’. (The church is a "resourcing church",  with special funding from the Church Commissioners’ Strategic Development Fund for the purpose of growing the congregation to around 250 people and generating energy and resources for further church-planting elsewhere in the diocese.) Bearing in mind the Church of England's commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030, the Chancellor was concerned about the proposal to install a new gas-fired heating system. However, an expert report indicated that the proposed new system should reduce overall gas usage by 35%. The Chancellor granted a faculty subject to a condition that gas supplied under a green tariff should be used where possible.