A NATIONAL award for being green has been granted to the Diocese of Salisbury.

This morning Salisbury received The Eco Diocese award, making it the first Eco Diocese in the Church of England.

The Salisbury Cathedral spire will be lit green tonight in celebration.

The Eco Diocese award is part of Eco Church, an initiative run by A Rocha UK, encouraging churches to consider how their work can be achieved while caring for the planet.

Worship and teaching, buildings, land, community engagement and lifestyle are the five key areas the award focusses on, with bronze, silver and gold status up for grabs once tasks are complete and points and collected.

Colin Brady, social justice programme manager for the Diocese of Salisbury, announced the award and is "confident" that more awards are to follow this achievement, adding: “Last week we received news of two more churches gaining their Bronze Eco Church award, and notification that our offices in Salisbury had met the criteria for its own Bronze award, and suddenly we were there.

"Many of our congregations have had lots of fun building bug hotels in their churchyards, adding a few more points towards their Eco Church awards with a clear message that Christians care for the environment.”

All 25 churches in the Diocese of Salisbury have picked up awards leading to their new eco-friendly status, consisting of 19 bronze, five silver and one gold.

The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, is "delighted and very encouraged" that the Diocese of Salisbury won the award, adding: "Our target to become an Eco Diocese was to have 50 churches registered and now we have 70, and we have Bronze, Silver and Gold awards, and we have more churches still working towards getting their own award.

"It shows that as a Diocese we recognise that the care for God’s creation is at the heart of ministry and mission.”