The Diocese of Carlisle has completed its first Net Carbon Zero vicarage.

A property was purchased in Natland, south of Kendal, five months ago, as a replacement for the village's existing vicarage.

Work has been carried out to increase energy efficiency with the installation of a new air source heat pump, pressurised water heating system, solar panels and battery storage, offering two thirds of the electricity supply, new insulation, and new external doors.

The Rev Canon Angela Whittaker, helm mission community leader, and her husband Andrew are set to move into the upgraded property in the coming days.

Speaking about the completion, Diocesan Property Manager, Nick Paxman, who oversaw the project, said: "We are delighted with what has been achieved.

"The old Victorian vicarage in the village, though charming to look at, was very expensive for us to maintain and more importantly impossibly expensive for our Vicar to heat.

"We needed an answer and one which is in line with our Net Carbon challenge."

Mr Paxman noted that the removal of the traditional central heating boiler and replacement with an air source heat pump significantly streamlined the process of aligning with Net Carbon requirements.

The cost of heating will be substantially reduced in the 22-year-old property and any excess electricity generated by the installed solar panels holds the potential of being sold to energy providers.

Costs of the purchase and associated Net Carbon renovations of the newer property will be offset by the sale of the old Victorian vicarage.

It is the intention of the Diocese to invest the residue in support of future mission and ministry across the county.

The Natland property is the first of three marked for Net Carbon Zero development.

The second project is already underway with a vicarage in Grasmere, with a third property scheduled for improvements in Wigton at Easter.

The Bishop of Penrith, the Rt Rev Rob Saner-Haigh, said: "We remain committed to doing all we can to cherish and protect God’s creation. The improvement to this eco vicarage and our future schedule of works reflects this ongoing commitment.”