York Minster installs solar tiles for a historic first

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Image: York Minster

A ceremony was held at York Minster to mark the installation of solar tiles on the roof of its refectory building.

Attended by members of York City Council, including Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change, the ceremony included a dedication by Acting Dean, Rvd Canon Michael Smith.

It marks the first time that solar tiles have been installed on a listed building in the city and follows extensive consultation between York Minster, York City Council and Historic England.

Brought to the site following a successful planning decision in December 2022, the Dining Hall, located at 2 Deangate, is the first major project in the recently adopted York Minster Neighborhood Plan.

Formerly the site of The Minster School, it is being converted into a canteen-style cafe and restaurant and is due to open in 2023.

The Neighborhood Plan forms part of York’s statutory development plan and sets out a 15-year roadmap to create a sustainable future for the cathedral and its surrounding neighbourhood. This is the first time a neighborhood plan has been used to map the future maintenance of a cathedral or heritage estate.

The discreetly placed solar tiles will generate approximately 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year and support the cathedral’s ambitions to achieve operational zero carbon, as outlined in the neighborhood plan.

Alex McCallion, Director of Works and Precincts at York Minster, said: “As with our recently ratified ward plan, York Minster is leading the way and setting a new precedent for other heritage organisations. Currently , the greatest external threat to York Minster The future is climate change, brought on by extreme weather events The Neighborhood Plan sets out a policy approach on how we will tackle this issue as we move towards a low-carbon area. The installation of these solar tiles is an important step in delivering on this commitment.”

Rvd Canon Michael Smith, Acting Dean of York Minster, said: “We are very pleased to have installed these new solar tiles, which is a first not just for the cathedral, but for the whole community. We would like to thank both the City of York Council and Historic England for their support thus far, and we look forward to continuing our working partnership as we seek to implement our neighborhood plan over the next 15 next few years, which is at the heart of sustainability, while being sensitive to the historic architecture of the enclosure.”

Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change at York City Council, added: “I am delighted to see solar tiles installed on a listed building in the Cathedral Quarter. This has been delivered by York City Council and the Cathedral work together to build a solution that meets both our climate ambition and our conservation requirements. I look forward to seeing many more of these projects completed throughout the city in the years to come.

For more information on the neighborhood plan, please visit: https://yorkminster.org/about-us/master-planning/.


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