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All four UK nations’ health systems pledge to reach Carbon Net Zero

By November 12, 2021No Comments

All four UK health services have now pledged to achieve net zero carbon emissions, the Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid has announced. This commitment comes as 47 other countries have agreed similar ambitions across the world as part of the COP26 Science and Innovation Day. The list of countries are pledging “landmark commitments to develop climate resilient, sustainable low-carbon health systems.”

It is of great importance that health systems become greener and work to reduce the substantial levels of greenhouse gas emissions they are responsible for. At present, health systems account for 4.6% of the worldwide total. This means that if they were one country, health systems would be the fifth largest emitter. Public health is under threat from climate change, with greater water and food insecurity, extreme weather events and an increased number of infectious diseases.

The NHS in England became the first health service in the world to commit to being net zero by 2045. It has pledged to use a zero-emission fleet, with the world’s first zero-emission ambulance. All NHS suppliers will need to publish a carbon reduction plan, and over £330 million in investment has been announced in climate-smart healthcare and low-carbon hospitals, improving energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions.

NHS Scotland will also become a net zero emissions health service by 2045, all owned building will utilise renewable heat by 2038. All NHS Scotland small and medium vehicles will be net zero by 2025, and net zero route maps are being prepared for all 22 Scottish Health Boards by the end of 2022 and these will be aligned with climate risk assessments and adaptation plans.

NHS Wales and social care aims to be collectively net zero by 2030. By 2025, all lighting across the NHS Wales estate will be LED and reducing emissions will be part of all new procurement contracts for major suppliers to NHS Wales. By 2030, the Welsh Ambulance Service will aim for all new ambulances to be plug-in electric or low-carbon fuel.

“I am delighted that all four UK health services are pledging to become net zero and it is brilliant news that dozens of countries have joined the UK in committing to reduce carbon emissions from their health systems – significantly cutting greenhouse gas output around the world”, said Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid.