The withdrawal last week by the Diocese of Exeter of plans for six wind turbines must not deflect the Church from its responsibility to act on climate change, Green Christians have said.
Christian Ecology Link (CEL), the charity for Christians in the Green movement has urged the Church of England to hold its nerve in the face of ‘aggressive’ behaviour from protestors against renewable energy generation.
They also say the church should listen to and learn from the reactions witnessed in Devon to strengthen their theological, environmental and planning justification for such proposals.
Exeter Diocese dropped plans on Tuesday to erect pairs of small (25m) ‘agricultural’ turbines in three parishes in North Devon.
In a pastoral letter to the parishioners concerned, Bishop Michael Langrish said local clergy had been subject to ‘hostility and in some cases outright verbal abuse’, adding that he was ‘grieved’ by the bullying tactics to which diocesan staff had been subjected.
Tony Emerson of Christian Ecology Link said: "The Church has made huge strides in recent years, both in reducing its own contribution in climate change, and in laying the ethical groundwork for the political decisions that are urgently needed.
"The Diocese of Exeter has consistently been ahead of the pack in responding to this call. That sometimes takes a lot of courage. This has clearly been an upsetting experience for the diocese and protestors alike, and it’s time to reflect. Ultimately, however, I hope Exeter keeps up its pioneering role, and helps the whole Church to put its commitment to creation into practice. That has to involve shouldering its share of the shift to renewable energy."