Fri, 05 Feb 2016
AFTER seven years of hard work St George the Martyr in Newbury is set to become one of the first carbon neutral churches in the UK.
The church in Andover Road will be one of the first to install and use a ground-source heat pump, eliminating the need for a gas boiler.
This week saw drilling on the final phase of the project commence with the Bishop of Reading, the Rt Rev Andrew Proud, paying a visit.
The project was launched in 2009 by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, and the Nobel Laureate, Sir John Houghton.
Church vicar, the Rev Paul Cowan, has been involved in the project from the beginning and said it was wonderful feeling that the final stages were now almost complete.
He said: “Back then the church had a gas-guzzling and failing heating system.
“The building also had problems with damp and no disabled access to the main entrance. We had a beautiful building that was underused, undervalued and unfit for purpose.
“It is now available for the community for events and concerts and with no set hire rates, it makes the building available to everyone.”
More than £1m has been raised to fund the project with 40 per cent being raised by the church congregation and 60 per cent from external funders.
Mr Cowan now hopes that St George’s can generate income via the Government’s tariffs for the next 20 years, which the church hopes to use to support other charities and projects in the future.