Diocese of Portsmouth



Our Mission

Caring for God’s creation is an integral part of the Christian faith – we are committed to “sustaining and renewing the life of the earth”, according to the five strands of mission. It’s also important for worshippers within our diocese, and our Environment Policy was agreed back in 2008, and is even more relevant today. Many of our churches are committed to embracing alternatives that are kinder to our planet, and campaigning for governments to respond more effectively to the climate emergency.

Net Zero Carbon 2023The Church of England nationally has committed itself to be net zero carbon by 2030, which is a challenging target for national Church institutions, dioceses and parishes. Click here for details of our our diocese is meeting the challenge to become net zero carbon.

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Eco Church at St George’s Waterlooville

Eco Church

Eco Church is a project run by A Rocha UK, a Christian charity working to protect and restore the natural world and committed to equipping Christians and churches in the UK to care for the environment.

Churches can join the project by taking actions in five key areas of church life to demonstrate care for God’s creation. Those key areas are:

  • Worship and teaching
  • Buildings
  • Land
  • Community and global engagement
  • Lifestyle

There are three levels of award: bronze, silver and gold. The more actions your church takes, the higher the level of award. In our diocese we currently have 31 churches that have received at least a bronze award, with some attaining silver and one reaching gold (you can view them all on this map). We would love to see more churches taking part in the project, and it is so easy to be involved. Find out more on our Eco Church page here.

Energy footprint tool

You can measure the carbon footprint of your church by using the Church of England’s Energy Footprint Tool. It uses some information already held by the Church of England and some information you input from your energy bills to reach a calculation.

Full details are here, and the place to measure your energy footprint is on the online Parish Returns System here (someone from your church – the vicar or a churchwarden – will have a log-in and password for this page).

Resources, updates and links

The Great Big Green Week is the UK's biggest ever celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature, organised by the Climate Coalition. This year it runs from Saturday 8th to Sunday 16th June.

The Havant Climate Alliance is organising a number of activities and are encouraging organisations, churches and schools to get involved. You can find out more here.

Caring for God’s Acre was established in 2000 as a national charity, promoting the conservation of burial sites and supporting the people who look after and maintain them.

Many burial sites are managed by a few volunteers who are keen to preserve both the monuments and the wildlife but want guidance on how best to achieve this. Care for God’s Acre’s input can help to preserve rare species of plants and wildflowers and they advise on management of grassland to encourage wildlife whilst still allowing access to visitors and relatives. Issues such as lichen on gravestones and monuments falling into disrepair are also part of their remit and they run a telephone and email advice service for burial ground managers, signposting to other experts if required.

Operation Noah is a Christian charity working with the Church to inspire action on the climate crisis. They work with local and national churches to address the climate crisis, particularly through their Bright Now campaign which encourages churches to divest from fossil fuels and invest in climate solutions, such as renewable energy. The Bright Now campaign is also starting to work with churches on nature-based solutions, from increasing tree cover to other environmentally-sensitive ways of managing church land. They are faith-motived, science-informed and hope-inspired, and aim to help Christians engage through theology, campaigning, equipping, prayer and partnerships.

Creation Matters!

Creation Matters! is a network of individuals, from churches across the Isle of Wight, that seeks to encourage and inspire creation care on and around the Island. We seek to bring hope and practical good news to the places where we live through innovative community engagement. The aim is to encourage and inspire creation care through developing an understanding of the Christian response to climate change and improving biodiversity. Anybody can join the network on the understanding that it is distinctly a Christian initiative. You can find out more via email.

Environment and net zero officers

Steve Collins, formerly the Deputy Diocesan Secretary of Guildford Diocese, has moved into the new role of Net Zero Carbon Programme Manager for the dioceses of Portsmouth, Guildford and Chichester from January 2024.

Steve’s role is enabled through national funding that is also paying for David Cain (pictured left), Diocesan Building Development Officer, to also take on the role of Diocesan Environment Officer. The funding has also enabled Matt Lockwood, part-time communications officer, to also take on the role of part-time net zero carbon Support Officer to work with David and Steve.

The roles taken on by David and Matt will be in addition to the diocesan environmental group that has been promoting and supporting parish initiatives on green issues. They will be helping us to measure the carbon consumption in our parishes, and to access grants, advice and support that can help our churches to reduce our reliance on carbon consumption.

One parish project

Discover how worshippers in one part of the Isle of Wight are putting environmental sustainability at the top of their priority list:


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Autumn 2023

  • Steve Collins announced as Net Zero Carbon Programme Manager for the dioceses of Portsmouth, Guildford and Winchester. Steve begins his role in January 2024.

July 2022

  • New C of E rules about obtaining faculties for alterations to church buildings are implemented from July 1. They give more weight to those changes that will help towards the drive for our churches to become carbon net zero. Click here for information.

November 2021

  • The Church of England’s lead bishop on the environment, the Rt Rev Graham Usher, urges us to keep up the moral pressure after the COP26 United Nations summit in Glasgow. Read his thoughts here.

May 2021

February 2021

  • The national Church of England has reported back on progress with the drive towards its zero net carbon goal for 2030. You can read about that here.
  • Lent resources from the Anglican Communion Environment Network:
    • Planting Seeds of Hope, forty devotions on care for Creation in memory of Bishop Ellinah
    • Carbon Fast for Lent: “Build Forward Better”:
    • Bishop Ellinah’s Memorial Service: The Anglican Communion Environmental Network held a memorial service for Bishop Ellinah.

November 2020

  • The Church Times has published an article suggesting that if the whole church were to commit to reducing its carbon footprint, the net-zero target set by General Synod can be achieved. Click here to download the article.

July 2020

  • The online form to register interest in this year’s Energy Audit season will go live on Friday 24 July and will be open until 30 September. The audits themselves will take place from October - March. Click here for full details.

June 2020

  • Several bishops have signed a powerful statement by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network on Environmental Racism. The statement is compelling; it sets out the intersection between systematic racism and environmental issues, and stressed that black lives matter in all countries.

National C of E environmental initiatives

Shrinking the Footprint is the Church of England’s national environmental campaign. It can provide resources to help you take action on the environment. Find out more here.

And Churches Together is calling for churches to hold a Climate Sunday service. It is urging all local churches, denominations, ‘streams’ and networks to hold a climate-focused service - ideally on 6 September, but definitely during the period between September 1 and October 4, which is recognised by a growing number of denominations as ‘Creationtide’.

Visit the Church of England’s website under environment-and-climate-change for advice, resources, guidance, case studies latest news and ways to save money through ‘Parish Buying

Environmental Advisory Group

The members of the Diocese Environmental Advisory Group are:

  • Rachel Houlberg, Secretary to the Bishop of Portsmouth
  • Giles Chapman, DAC Chair
  • Sue Bowen, Education team
  • Jenny Owen, parishioner Hayling Island

Please email Rachel Houlberg to get in touch with the advisory group here.

Net Zero Carbon Programme Manager

Steve Collins

Steve Collins
Funded by the National Church Office, and working across the dioceses of Portsmouth, Chichester and Guildford, Steve provides strategic support to the implementation of our NZC plan, including ensuring opportunities are maximised for shared working and learning.

T: 01483 790326
E: email

Diocesan Environment Officer

David Cain

David Cain
Helping parishes to measure their carbon consumption, and gain access to grants, advice and support that can help churches to reduce their reliance on carbon consumption.

T: 023 9289 9687
E: email

Net Zero Carbon Support Officer

Matt Lockwood

Matt Lockwood
Working with the DEO and NZC Programme Manager to support parishes with engaging in projects and initiatives to become carbon neutral.

T: 023 9289 9675
E: email

Matt works on NZC Wednesday and Friday