On the run up to NHS Sustainability Day on the 24th March 2016, a series of information sharing roadshows are being held across England.

The first roadshow was held in Leeds on the 24th September 2015, and was well attended by NHS Trusts across the region. The event saw a range of speakers, all sharing their experiences of enhancing sustainability from their projects and organisations. Stands were available to delegates, including a wide range of organisations offering products and services that support sustainability within NHS Trusts. Low Carbon Europe were on hand to offer advice about how organisations can effectively engage with sustainability.

The conference opened with Fiona Daley, Barts NHS Trust, who summarised the achievements of Sustainability Day to date as shown in the NHS Sustainability Day Evidence Report. She described the focus for this year to be the ‘BIG 50’ which encourages every NHS Trust to save 50kg CO2, and announced the development of an app to support this challenge.  Fiona went onto to share the latest research and statistics on the health impacts of sustainability, including:

  • Fuel Poverty costs the NHS £850m per year and 27,000 excess winter deaths
  • Air quality and respiratory illness costs the NHS £20bn per year and is responsible for 9000 deaths per year in London
  • Childhood obesity costs the NHS £5bn per year, and 25.5% of 11 year olds are obese in east London

A range of speakers went onto present topics on changing to sustainable behaviours, operation TLC and the benefits of using Quorn in catering and participating in Aqua mark. Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust gave a detailed case study example of how the estates team approached a water leak reduction programme, which involved close partnership working with the local water company. The project saved the Trust £374,000 per year.

Sarah Moore, Sustainability Consultant for Low Carbon Europe, gave a well-received presentation on engaging with sustainability at all levels within the NHS organisations, drawing upon recent experiences from working with NHS trusts to provide tips for successful staff engagement programmes.

The event closed with a community-led project ‘Greening Wingrove’ which showcased the work of the community interest company in Newcastle on reclaiming back lanes behind houses. The group formed in response to public sector budget cuts and subsequent decline in environmental quality on their patch. The local community came together to hold clean up days on the lanes, as well as events including food growing and music. This brought about greater community cohesion and allowed them to take back these spaces into positive use. The project received funding from BIG lottery’s Communities Living Sustainably fund, and continues to work to improve both grey and green spaces within communities.

Low Carbon Europe are supporting the Sustainability Day roadshows in London (25 February 2016) and Exeter (17 March 2016). For more information please visit http://www.nhssustainabilityday.co.uk/