NHS Plans To Slash Carbon Footprint

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The NHS will today pledge to become one of England's leading sustainable and low carbon organisations and to meet the Government's target of an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.

This pledge is set out in a new Strategy, Saving Carbon, Improving Health, which will be launched by NHS Chief Executive, David Nicholson, and NHS Sustainable Development Unit Director, Dr David Pencheon.

The NHS has a carbon footprint of 18 million tonnes of CO2 per year - 3.2 per cent of carbon emissions and 25 per cent of public sector emissions in England. As part of the Strategy, NHS organisations are committing to reducing their carbon footprint. It will be for each organisation to determine how it does so and set its own targets if need be using the guidance from the Strategy. The NHS has set itself an ambition of achieving a 10 per cent reduction in its 2007 carbon footprint by 2015. This will require the current level of growth of emissions to not only be curbed, but the trend to be reversed and absolute emissions reduced.

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Speaking at the launch ceremony at St Thomas' Hospital in London, David Nicholson will say: "As the biggest public sector employer in the country, the NHS needs to lead by example. I want to encourage NHS staff to really get involved and do their bit to create a greener NHS.

"I want to thank our partners who have signed up to support us to become a leading low carbon organisation. It is by working hard both within NHS trusts and with our partners that we can make the biggest impact on our carbon footprint."

Dr David Pencheon, Director of the NHS Sustainable Development Unit will say: "The NHS is an internationally renowned health service, Europe's largest employer and a leader in local communities across the country. By leading by example the NHS can help mitigate climate change and improve our health tomorrow, as well as today.

"Carbon reduction is something that needs to extend to every part of the organisation. Everyone who works for the NHS should be thinking about reducing their carbon footprint as part of their day job." The strategy will ensure that the NHS will achieve an enormous cut in carbon emissions ensuring it is leading low carbon and sustainable organisation and meets the Climate Change Act requirements.

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