Effects of Climate Change on Churches
March 17, 2020
Climate Change vs Churches
In the last decade, the media has been giving a lot of insight onto the issue of climate change; and for good reason, too. The UN states that since the industrial revolution global temperatures have increased by 0.85C and predicts that, by 2065, sea levels are expected to rise by 24-30 cm.
But more recently, the focus has also been shared with the effects of a changing global climate on historic churches; in 2017 there was 480 applications for grants, an increase of 26% from the previous year (according to the National Churches Trust). The grants, gifted by the aforementioned trust, ensured the repair of a number of significant UK Churches, such as St Botolph’s church in Lincolnshire, a Grade I heritage site that received a £40,000 grant for urgent roof repairs.
The increase in grants is because of worsening weather, such as the increasing temperatures and stronger, more frequent storms throughout the UK. For example, Scotland has seen a 20% increase in rainfall since the 1960s—wetter rainy seasons but hotter, dryer Summer periods can compromise the stability of a church’s wooden framework.
Exposure to the harsher elements isn’t the only thing that threatens churches-- as Claire Walker, the CEO of National Churches Trust, explains;
“Climate change is also making the UK ever more vulnerable to invasive pests. The biggest danger for church buildings would be from termites, which are now widespread in France, with infestations being found close to the Channel cost”
The growing expenses and frequency of church repairs tells us that fast action is required if we are to protect these ancient buildings. The National Churches Trust has its annual review available for download, which details further issues that climate change brings and details how to keep church buildings in good repair. It can be downloaded at; https://issuu.com/nationalchurchestrust/docs/nct_annual_review__final