In October 2020, NHS England announced their ambition to become the world’s first net zero national health service, with the aim of achieving net zero emissions across the whole of the UK’s healthcare system by 2045.
At MKUH, we are on a journey to meeting this ambition, setting ourselves the target of becoming net carbon zero by the end of the decade (2030).
Net zero means achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere and those taken out. To achieve this aim requires us to balance the amount of greenhouse gases we emit with the amount we remove. When what we add is no more than what we take away we reach net zero. This state is also referred to as carbon neutral.
The NHS is loved by so many of us and we know that to ensure future generations get to experience the same affection and benefit from the unrivalled clinical care, we need to start thinking and acting more sustainably.
We have already started our journey to becoming ‘greener’ and there is some fantastic work going on across all areas of the Trust to improve our environmental footprint and encourage more sustainable ways of working. However we know that this is only the beginning and there is so much more than we can do to be a leader in championing and influencing environmental change.
Here’s an overview on some of the projects that are currently ongoing across the Trust:
1. Solar panels:
Solar panels have been installed across the whole of the hospital, allowing us to generate more of our energy on site and reduce the need to source this from external suppliers. In total, just shy of 2,000 panels (1,998) have been introduced which, when operational, will produce more than 10% of our total electrical output.
Here’s a few pictures of some of the solar panels in action:
2. Completely green electricity:
All of the electricity that we use is supplied by a renewable energy provider, ensuring zero emissions are produced.
3. Travel plan:
Work is due to start on the revision of our Travel Plan, looking at ways in which we can utilise our site and facilities more effectively. Further information will be shared in the coming months.
We are in the process of developing a Green Plan, outlining our vision and strategy for how we will achieve our ambition of becoming net carbon zero.
Our Green Plan at MKUH extends beyond simply reducing our carbon emissions. With our central role in the heart of the Milton Keynes community, and being one of the largest employers in the area, it is our responsibility to lead by example and show others what is possible.
As such, our Green Plan will encompass our impact on the local community, from an environmental, societal and financial point of view. This includes everything from the staff we employee, how we work with schools and others educational partners and the way in which we conduct ourselves. Below are just some of the areas that we are looking to explore as part of our sustainability programme: