Truro Cathedral floodlights will be switched off forever


Truro Cathedral is plunged into darkness forever following the announcement that floodlights will be permanently shut down to help the planet.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Truro Cathedral will switch off its floodlights forever at the end of January to reduce its carbon footprint.

Canon Elly Sheard shared the news on her website on Wednesday (26 January), explaining that while the floodlights have not been fully operational for some time, the decision to turn them off permanently came after a nationwide call for reductions from the Church of England was made to reduce their carbon footprint to zero by 2030.

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Canon Sheard wrote: “From the end of January the cathedral floodlights will be switched off. Although the system has not been fully operational for some time, the decision to discontinue the cathedral’s floodlighting was made for environmental reasons rather than the cathedral’s cost of repairs or continued use.

“While caring for God’s creation certainly includes working to increase biodiversity and reduce pollution and waste, there is no question that the greatest contribution each of us makes to the destruction of the Earth’s biosphere is the amount of carbon, through which we get into the atmosphere the activities of our daily lives.”

She continued: “Driving our cars and heating our homes are two of the largest contributors to an individual’s carbon footprint, and for institutions and organizations, electricity consumption and office heating are similarly significant.

“At Truro Cathedral, we are currently collecting the energy consumption data that will inform our future carbon reduction efforts, but for now it makes sense to start where we want to continue – by stopping energy consumption in whatever way can.”

Truro Cathedral could be plunged into darkness forever

She added that the cathedral wants to save money by turning off the floodlights and that she calculates that the floodlights emit around two tons of CO2 2 e per year, which is about half the CO2 emissions of an average car.

“Of course, turning off the floodlights also saves us money, which will be welcome as energy prices rise in the near future and will serve us well elsewhere in our operations,” explained Canon Sheard.

“According to my rough calculations, the dome lights currently in use emit around two tons of CO 2 e per year. For comparison, that’s around half the CO2 emissions of the average car used by most people in the UK. Like most of these calculations, these numbers are estimates rather than accurate readings, but nonetheless it is evident that this decision gives us a worthwhile start on our cathedral’s journey towards reducing our carbon footprint to zero.

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However, the announcement was not popular with Truro residents, with many claiming that turning off the cathedral floodlights will have “more of an impact on the city than on the environment”.

One resident, who commented on a Facebook thread about the announcement, said: “It won’t have a big impact on the environment, but it will have a big impact on the city’s evening atmosphere. Its biggest landmark, sitting in the dark, doesn’t exactly say ‘vibrant capital’ but says ‘go home, we’re closed’.

While another wrote: “Very sad and history shows little environmental savings but will have a major impact on residents losing evening visibility of Truro’s prominent feature. Personally think they should reconsider and fund any costs or carbon offsets.”

A third resident said: “Maybe polluting BUT it’s a huge Truro landmark and fantastic for visitors and residents alike to see it lit up. You should rethink. Half a car with emissions is worth it for the visual impact it has on the city. However, switching the lighting to a more eco-friendly system is the way to go.”

Another added: “This is a terrible shame. It’s central to Truro and a ray of hope in these troubled times. What can we do to get the lights going again? could sponsor or find a way not to pay the cathedral.”

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