THE Bishop of Dorchester is believed to be the first in the Church of England to have gone green and bought an electric car.

The Rt Rev Colin Fletcher can now be spotted out driving his new electric Volkswagen Golf after making the switch last month.

Bishop Colin said: “Electric cars are the way to the future and are kinder to the environment than those fuelled by petrol or diesel.

“They are more expensive to buy, but I’m told they are cheaper to run.”

The move to a more sustainable and eco-friendly commute comes after the Diocese of Oxford, based at Church House in Kidlington, introduced a charging point for electric vehicles in its car park.

It follows a the installation of a number of electric vehicle charging points being installed by councils over the past two years including car parks controlled by Oxfordshire County Council, South Oxfordshire District Council and Oxford City Council.

The Oxford Mail reported earlier this year that a Freedom of Information (FOI) request found that Cherwell, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils were yet to install any electric charging points.

But the councils did say they had plans to introduce charging points, including some to be installed at Castle Quay Shopping Centre in Banbury.

West Oxfordshire District Council did not respond to the FOI at the time.

At the Diocese of Oxford, the addition of a charging point is encouraging more people to make the switch.

It is available to all visitors to Church House in return for a small charge.

The Diocese of Oxford said it was part of a wider plan to reduce its carbon footprint across Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.

It is thought the Archdeacon of Berkshire, the Ven. Olivia Graham will follow the move made by Bishop Colin by also switching to an electric vehicle when she is consecrated as Bishop of Reading later this year.

The diocese said it had been undertaking energy audits over the past year to help churches work on environmental sustainability and providing resources to help congregations pray, reflect, and act on creation care.

It comes as part of a bid to become an Eco Diocese – a scheme run by environmental charity A Rocha to encourage churches to think about reducing their carbon footprint and going greener.

Eco Church status can be awarded after churches fill in a survey about how they are caring for God’s earth in different areas of their life and work. They can be awarded bronze, silver or gold awards depending on their eco-credentials.