St Mary's Church in Saffron Walden has encouraged parishioners to protect the planet with its 'eco church' initiative.

The eco church has been operating for four years, as part of the church's goal to reach carbon zero by 2030.

Edward Gildea, St Mary's eco church team leader, said: "Reducing the energy consumption of our cathedral-sized church is going to be a huge challenge, but an even more important challenge of eco church is supporting parishioners in reducing their own carbon footprints."

In spring and summer, the churchyard features displays of snowdrops, wild daffodils, primroses, stars of Bethlehem, poppies and other wild flowers beginning to proliferate.

As these increase, so do the insects and pollinators. as well as birds, small mammals, and trillions of invertebrates and micro-organisms within the soil.

A recent survey among parishioners found that 66 per cent of respondents always or frequently cut down on their meat consumption, 78 per cent bought local food in season all or most of the time, 56 per cent considered the environment when buying clothes and 90 per cent mended, repaired or recycled their clothing.


Other parts of the survey showed that 73 per cent of people avoided flying where possible, 83 per cent avoided using their tumble driers, and 86 per cent had read articles about the environment and watched TV programmes about it.

Edward said: "Admittedly the sample of 58 respondents is small in terms of the town as a whole, but significant in terms of the congregation of St Mary’s and is hopefully a sign that the church is doing what it can to lead Uttlesford towards more sustainable ways of living."

St Mary's Church is more than 800 years old, and is one of 12 churches within the Saffron Walden Villages and Teams Ministry.

The church is open every day of the year from around 10am until around 4pm.

A statement on the church's website explains that St Mary's parishioners are of all ages and come from all walks of life, adding: "We worship and learn and spend time together because the journey of life and Christian faith is too hard to make alone."