Churches and cathedrals should consider fixing solar panels and wind turbines to their roofs to help tackle climate change, the Government has said.

Environment Minister Ian Pearson, speaking to Church leaders at Lambeth Palace admitted the sight of hi-tech energy generators strapped to some of the nation's most cherished landmarks might "raise a few eyebrows".

But he said: "I'd love to see solar panels on church halls, biomass boilers in church schools, and maybe in future we should be thinking about how, by using microgeneration, cathedrals can help produce energy as well as use it."

Mr Pearson's comments were backed by Hove MP Celia Barlow, who said: "I would certainly recommend any church replacing their existing heating or lighting should move to green measures like solar panels."

Although wind turbines were only suitable for "certain areas", Ms Barlow said they should be considered where appropriate - and where they would not break the bank.

The Labour MP, who last week met the Vicar of Hove, David Wostenholme, to discuss how to help the city's churches go green, said: "Our churches can make a big contribution in the fight against climate change."

A Church of England spokesman said two London churches already sported solar panels.

He said: "It is up to churches what they do with their buildings but we are certainly encouraging them to think about their carbon footprint and ways of reducing it, including microgeneration."

The Government's call for church leaders to do their bit for the environment was also a plea for them to protect the future of their own historic buildings in the face of forecasts of higher temperatures, flooding, drought and stormy weather.

Mr Pearson said this "extreme weather", triggered by rising global temperatures, meant cathedrals must start adapting if they are still to be standing a century from now.

He warned: "They are not immune to the effects of climate change. We need to take care of our cathedrals now."

What do you think? Should the clergy take the lead when it comes to green living? Leave your comments below.