Churches and cathedrals need to do more to make themselves energy efficient, the Bishop of Norwich has said.

Graham Usher, who is the Church of England's lead bishop on environmental affairs, made the call at the National Cathedrals Conference in Newcastle.

He told delegates: “Every time we turn on our boiler or install a new kitchen, we are using the earth’s resources, and we are called on to manage our buildings in ways that ensure we are not wasting these precious resources.

“In the main, churches and cathedrals are currently heated by burning oil and gas, the very fossil fuels which are contributing to climate change."

The Church of England is trying to achieve net zero carbon status by 2030 and churches are being encouraged to find ways to help.

Earlier this month, the Diocese of Norwich welcomed proposals from a former MEP and UEA academic, professor Catherine Rowett, that solar panels should be placed on Norfolk's church roofs.

In 2016, Gloucester Cathedral became the first Grade 1 listed building to install photovoltaic panels.

Many other UK cathedrals have followed suit with green adaptations including solar panels.

The host venue, Newcastle Cathedral, was praised for the installation of an air source heat pump as part of a major recent renovation.

However, with cathedrals currently responsible for around 2pc of the total Church of England carbon emissions, delegates were encouraged to identify more opportunities to meet the ambitious net zero target set at General Synod in 2020.

“You have a crucial part to play in caring for the web of creation and seeking justice for the world’s economically poorest people already adversely impacted by climate change,” Bishop Graham said.

“Installing a new gas boiler today means that you are committing to continuing to pump carbon into the atmosphere for the next 25 or so years. To reach net zero is going to be challenging and costly."

The Church of England’s Route Map to Net Zero Carbon will be discussed at General Synod in July 2022 following a consultation which included all dioceses and cathedrals.