Festive 'ecological disaster zones'

The Bishop of Norwich has criticised people who festoon their homes in Christmas lights for creating "minor ecological disaster zones".

The Bishop of Norwich has criticised people who festoon their homes in Christmas lights for creating "minor ecological disaster zones".

At a service attended by The Queen in Sandringham, Norfolk, the Right Reverend Graham James today preached a sermon based on various kinds of light associated with Christmas and told members of the Royal family and the congregation: "Some people, I have noticed around here, turn their houses into minor ecological disaster zones.''

The Bishop spoke at St Mary Magdalene church as managers of the restaurant at the visitor centre of the Royal Sandringham estate outlined their aims to be "as environmentally sensitive as possible''.

The estate's environmental policy was outlined on the back of menus for the Sandringham restaurant.

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"It is our aim to be as environmentally sensitive as possible,'' read the estate's policy. "Over the last few years we have been working on reducing the amount of waste we produce and the amount of energy we use.

"We now recycle all glass, cans and cardboard used at the visitor centre and we are experimenting with an accelerated composting machine. We have recycled more than 40,000 glass bottles and aluminium cans in the last 12 months.''

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A crowd of around 1,000 people gathered to watch the Royals arrive at and leave the church.

The Sandringham Estate has been decorated with lights from Blackpool, the seaside town famous for its illuminations, during the festive period.

Blackpool Council said it had received an order to provide the estate with half a mile (805 metres) of festive lights for a Sandringham Christmas festival.

"To be able to add these Blackpool lights to this magnificent setting is something we're thrilled about,'' said a Sandringham spokeswoman earlier this month.

The festival, which includes an open-air skating rink and pantomimes, runs until January 6.

t The Countess of Wessex today enjoyed her first public outing since the birth of her second child.

The Countess and her husband the Duke of Wessex joined The Queen and other members of the Royal family at the church service in Sandringham.

She told well-wishers that she and her son James, born on December 17, were doing well.

The Countess, who also has a four-year-old daughter, Lady Louise, arrived by car with The Queen for the service at St Mary Magdalene church on the Royal Sandringham estate.

Pensioner Mavis Hewson, 80, of Hunstanton, Norfolk, spoke to the Duchess after the service.

"She said that baby was very good and Lady Louise loves him," said Mrs Hewson.

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