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 Parochial Church Council ("PCC") wished to replace the oil-fired boiler with a new oil-fired boiler. The Diocesan Advisory Committee considered that the PCC had not had "due regard" to net zero guidance, as required by the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2022. Before their petition had been considered by the court, the PCC arranged the installation of the replacement boiler. The PCC subsequently provided the Deputy Chancellor with information about alternative heating systems, which included a quotation for converting the oil-fired boiler to run on hydrotreated vegetable oil ("HVO") at some stage in the future. The Deputy Chancellor, in view of the PCC's declared aim to decarbonise its heating with the development of an eco-friendly heating system within the next 5 years, granted a faculty, subject to (a) the PCC undertaking accredited carbon offsetting, and (b) the faculty limiting the use of the oil-fired boiler until 2028, when any request for an extension would have to be supported by evidence as to whether there had been compliance with the offsetting condition and whether the boiler had by then been converted to HVO.

In his judgment in Re St. Mary Stalbridge [2024] ECC Sal 1, the Deputy Chancellor granted a confirmatory faculty for the installation of a new oil-fired boiler, subject to conditions, and gave directions as to the provision of further evidence regarding the circumstances in which the boiler was unlawfully installed without the authority of a faculty. After considering further evidence from the petitioners and the heating engineers, the Deputy Chancellor advised the petitioners that in future they must always obtain a faculty (or other authorisation) before they commence any works in the church. He also proposed (after seeking advice from the Diocesan Advisory Committee) to make an order under s.78(3) of the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Care of Churches Measure 2018, known as an excluded matters order. This would have the effect, for a specified period of time (which he proposed should be two years), of depriving the parish of the benefit of List B authorisations, so that any works falling within List B, which would ordinarily require only the authorisation of the Archdeacon, would, during the specified period, instead require a faculty.

The proposal was to install a buried LPG tank in the churchyard, with pipes leading to the church building. This was intended to power an LPG boiler, which would in turn power the new underfloor heating system which formed part of the works authorised by a Faculty granted in 2023. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had considered with some care the Church of England’s guidance towards achieving net zero and she accordingly granted a faculty. 

The original gas boiler of the 1950s unlisted church had failed, been condemned as unsafe and removed. The Parochial Church Council wished to install a new heating system with new pipework and radiators and using a new gas boiler. The Church of England had a policy that its buildings should achieve net carbon neutrality by 2030. The Diocese of Southwark had a target of 2035. These policies suggested that churches should replace old gas heating systems with 'green' alternatives. However, in the present case the Chancellor decided that it would be unreasonable not to allow the present proposal and he therefore granted a faculty.

The Vicar and Churchwardens wished to replace the existing gas boiler and radiators in the church with a ChurchEcoMiser system (involving the installation of 23 new electric radiators). The petition was unopposed, though the Diocesan Advisory Committee thought that an air source heat pump would be a preferred option. The Chancellor did not consider it appropriate to require the petitioners to investigate the option of an air source heat pump. He was satisfied that the petitioners had done enough to justify their proposed choice of heating system and he granted a faculty.

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.