The climate crisis is a health emergency – one of the biggest health challenges faced by humanity. Climate change increases more extreme weather events like storms and floods, more frequent heatwaves, and changes the natural environment which increases the spread of infectious disease. These all threaten the health of our community.
Northumbria Healthcare launched a Green Plan strategy in 2022 to tackle our climate change impacts. This 3-year plan sets out the commitment of the Trust to reaching net zero for our carbon emissions. The Health and Care Act 2022 & the ‘Delivering a Net Zero NHS’ guidance have also given new responsibilities on the NHS to set targets to reduce carbon emissions.
Our carbon emission reduction targets are:
• Net zero by 2040 for the carbon emissions that we control. Including reducing fossil fuel use, using green electricity and producing less waste.
• Net zero by 2045 for the carbon emissions that we can influence. This includes encouraging environmentally friendly commuting from our staff. Buying our medicines and equipment from suppliers who also want to reduce their carbon footprint.
From this, we created a 'Net Zero Northumbria' Action Plan, with 8 main action areas:
- Our Corporate Approach
- Our People & Engagement
- Sustainable Healthcare
- Our Journeys & Clean Air
- Our Buildings & Estate
- Our Waste
- Sustainable Procurement
- Greening & Adapting Our Estate
In line with the trust's ethos of 'Going Beyond Outstanding' we aim to go beyond the NHS minimum targets and have a vision of being an NHS leader in the Net Zero challenge. We will monitor our progress regularly and publish an annual report on our carbon emissions. We will also work toegther with other NHS hospitals in the North East on sustainability projects. This will help us all as a region achieve our targets.
Action on Environment is at the heart of Our Community Promise. Making sustainable improvements is a key priority in all that we do. By making these changes and reducing the impacts of climate change, we will not only help improve and restore our natural environment, but we will also improve the health of our community who we serve.
Net Zero Projects
Buildings and energy contribute a large amount to the NHS's carbon footprint. A £22 million scheme at North Tyneside General Hospital has replaced our old heating system with a low-carbon alternative. In this project, we have installed air and water sources heat pumps, increased our solar panels to generate electricity, and improved our cavity wall insulation and double glazing. The project will provide the Trust with an 80% reduction in emissions over a 15-year period. We have already begun work to look at cost-effective energy and carbon reduction opportunities at our other hospitals, showing our commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions.