For the first time all NHS trusts have a net zero strategy

On Clean Air Day – 16th June 2022 – NHS England announced for the first time all 212 trusts have strategic plans in place to reach net zero.

Air pollution is the single greatest environmental threat to public health and has been shown to be greater in children and young people. As such, the climate crisis is a health emergency. For this reason, the NHS has become 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. 

The new green plans are 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.  

This 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. 

Dr Camilla Kingdon, President for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RPCPCH), said: 

It is really welcome to see that all NHS Trusts in England now have a green plan that sets out their roadmap for tackling climate change. A recent UNICEF report showed that the impacts of the climate crisis are already putting one billion children around the world at risk, and this is only going to get worse. 

By 2050, UNICEF predicts that air pollution will become the leading cause of child mortality, and it is clear we are facing a health emergency as well as a climate emergency. As a College and as paediatricians our commitment to tackling climate change is clear and we work to support our members as the NHS transitions to become carbon neutral and provide trainees with the skills they need to work in this changing environment. 

We are proud of the positive actions being taken across the NHS to reduce our impact on the environment and safeguard the health of future generations.