Every NHS trust in London has this week committed to play its part in helping the NHS cut more than one million tonnes of CO2 emissions over the next three years – the equivalent of taking 520,000 cars off the road.
Each organisation will publish a Green Plan setting out how it will reduce its environmental impact and help the NHS reach net zero by 2040.
Andrew Ridley, regional director for the NHS in London, said: “It is truly incredible that all trusts in London now have an achievable plan to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2040.
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
to this point and it is a testament to the collaborative working that is happening in the capital, with partners like the GLA, the Mayor of London, and the UK Health Security Agency, to improve the quality of air – and therefore the quality of life – in London.”
He added: “Reaching net zero will have a real and positive impact on the health of Londoners and it is absolutely vital that the NHS plays a key role in that.
“With trusts like the London Ambulance Service already having the largest electric fleet in the country, I am proud that the NHS in London is one of the leaders in the field.”
London currently has the highest percentage of deaths attributable to particulate air pollution (6.4%) of all English regions, with an estimated 4,000 deaths every year.
And almost all Londoners live in an area where air pollution exceeds the latest recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for particulate matter PM2.5, one of the air pollutants thought to have the greatest impact on human health.
If London met the WHO guideline for PM2.5 by 2030, people in London would gain a 20% increase in life years saved over the next 20 years.
The green plans lay out how the NHS, which contributes approximately 3.5% of all road travel in England, will make this travel greener.
The NHS was the first health system in the world to commit to net zero and the outstanding innovation and commitment from all of our London trusts is a vital step towards achieving that aim
Smarter buildings, LED lighting, and energy-saving measures are also reducing emissions and saving NHS organisations money, while using intravenous anaesthetic instead of gas, and helping patients use inhalers more efficiently, are improving patient care.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It’s great to see NHS London leading the way on tackling the climate emergency and air pollution, with every NHS trust in London now having a clear plan for how they will reach net zero.
“It’s completely unacceptable that toxic air in London leads to children growing up with stunted lungs and nearly 4,000 premature deaths a year.
“That’s why I have worked closely with the NHS and partners to take world-leading action in London to tackle pollution, carbon emissions, and congestion to protect the health of Londoners, and I commend the NHS on this important milestone.”
Dr Nick Watts, chief sustainability officer at NHS England, added: “The NHS was the first health system in the world to commit to net zero and the outstanding innovation and commitment from all of our London trusts 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.”