Local NHS to contribute to green savings equivalent to half a million fewer cars on the road

As the UK marks Clean Air Day, the NHS in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire is set to play its part in helping to cut more than one million tonnes of CO2 emissions over the next three years, which is equivalent of taking 520,000 cars off the road.

NHS organisations across the country, including all those in the local region, have signed up to support the cause, with each publishing a plan of how it will reduce its environmental impact and help the wider health service reach net zero by 2040.

Simon Yeo, Assistant Director of Estates and Lead for Sustainability, said: “With air pollution alone contributing to one in every 20 deaths in this country each year, it is clear we are facing a health emergency, as well as a climate emergency. 

“The plans being adopted across BSW are a testament to our staff’s commitment to tackling climate change, and we are proud of the positive actions being taken to reduce our impact on the environment, all of which will help safeguard the future health of our children and grandchildren.” 

The green plans lay out how the NHS, which is currently responsible for approximately 3.5 per cent of all road journeys in England, will make its travel greener.

In addition, smarter buildings, LED lighting and energy saving measures will reduce emissions and save NHS organisations money, while the use of intravenous anesthetic, instead of gas, as well as helping patients to use inhalers more efficiently, will also improve patient care.

One local initiative that is contributing towards the long-term goal of the health service becoming net zero by 2040 is the construction of the new Devizes Health Centre in Wiltshire.

When open later in the year, the site will utilise a number of green adaptations, such as heat pumps and solar panels, to enable it to be self-sufficient and one of the first NHS locations in the country to be carbon net zero.

Dr Nick Watts, Chief Sustainability Officer at NHS England, said: “The NHS was the first health system in the world to commit to net zero, and the outstanding innovation and commitment from teams across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire is a vital step towards achieving that aim.

“Doing our bit on climate change will directly improve public health, as well as reduce health inequalities by cutting deaths caused by air pollution, all of which will ensure a healthier future for our children.”