Photovoltaic about face

St MarysSustainable Moseley (SusMo) is delighted to announce St. Mary’s Moseley has permission to install photovoltaic panels, after nearly three years of planning, preparation and campaigning. SusMo and St. Mary’s have been sent a report by Judge Martin Cardinal, Chancellor of the Diocese of Birmingham, detailing his approval of the project; and his reasons for believing this is the right thing to do in the present climate.

St. Mary’s already has £30,000 from the SusMo Green Streets award. The project also had a further £20,000 lined up to meet the full cost, but that opportunity has now expired. We are now actively seeking a replacement source of funding, and would be delighted to hear from people who can help us find it.

This result comes after a long and arduous campaign. The Planning Inspectorate overturned the decision of the Planning Committee, thereby granting planning permission, in September 2010. The Diocese of Birmingham had to follow a separate (and lengthy) process of evaluation before reaching their decision, but was eventually swayed by the sense and viability of the project.

John Dowell, the agent for St. Mary’s Moseley Parochial Church Council, expressed joy and relief at the Chancellor’s decision. “His decision backs the views of the churchgoers, Moseley residents, and members of the wider public who have written in support, rather than the objectors who wished to preserve the church building exactly as it was in 1910.” He added that it brought the Diocese of Birmingham in line with projects in other parts of the country ‚ including London, Bath and Bristol ‚ ensuring that the city is not left behind in its response to climate change and rising fuel prices.

SusMo Chair Claire Spencer echoed John’s sentiments. “This installation will ensure that St. Mary’s is less reliant on energy from fossil fuels, and makes a great deal of financial sense. Visually, it sends a wonderful, positive message ‚ the people of Moseley care deeply about its present, its future, and one another. But the process that we have been through with St. Mary’s has also set a precedent, making it easier for other churches to tap into renewable energy ‚ and we look forward to their plans!”

Background to this is here