All NHS trust in Sussex commit to net zero target with roadmaps detailing climate change commitments

The NHS in the Sussex has announced every trust now has their own roadmap to tackle climate change and meet the NHS’s net zero commitments.

The new green plans are part of a national effort expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than a million tonnes over the next three years – the same as taking 520,000 cars off the road.

The climate crisis is a health emergency. That’s why the NHS became the first health service in the world to commit to reaching net zero; by 2040 for the emissions it controls directly, and by 2045 for the emissions it influences.

Today’s announcement comes as the UK marked Clean Air Day, highlighting that up to 36,000 deaths occur every year as a result of poor air quality, disproportionately affecting our poorest and most vulnerable communities.

Simon Rollason, South East Greener NHS Programme Lead said: 

“With air pollution alone contributing to 1 in 20 deaths in this country a year, it is clear we are facing a health emergency as well as a climate emergency.

“The NHS commitment to tackling climate change in the South East is clear, and we are proud to set out the positive actions we will take to reduce our impact on the environment and safeguard the future health of our children and grandchildren.”  

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 all the NHS Trusts in the South East is a vital step towards achieving that aim.

“Doing our bit on climate change will directly improve public health and reduce health inequalities, cutting deaths caused by air pollution and ensuring a healthier future for our children.”

Here are just some of the examples of the fantastic work being undertaken by Trusts in the South East to reach Net Zero:

University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust has made significant investment to improve energy efficiency within their estate including LED lighting replacements, boiler and building management system (BMS) upgrades and building fabric improvements such as roof replacement and windows.  From April 2021 the trust has been purchasing 100% Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin electricity.

More information:

Modelling for the carbon footprint is set out in the annex of the Delivering a Net Zero NHS Report, published in 2020 when the NHS first made the commitment to net zero

Figures for annual emissions from vehicle usage (68Mt in 2019) and the number of cars on the road (32.7m) to work out average emissions per car on the road

A report by Imperial College London found that London’s poor air quality led to more than 1,700 hospital admission for asthma and serious lung conditions between 2017-2019.

Recent research by the Clean Air Fund found that if current and proposed government policies are implemented, air pollution could be reduced to WHO-aligned levels across the majority of the UK by 2030 and as a result there would be 3000 fewer cases of heart disease, and children across the country would suffer an average of 388,000 fewer days of asthma symptoms

A report by the Environment Agency found that air pollution is the single biggest environmental threat to health in the UK, shortening tens of thousands of lives each year.