Labour would create Clean Air Zones around hospitals

The Labour Party will pledge to create Clean Air Zones around hospitals, as part of its plans for an NHS Green New Deal.

Labour’s Shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth will declare a climate emergency in the NHS and unveil a raft of new commitments on Sunday (September 22) when he speaks at the party’s annual conference in Brighton.

The NHS Sustainability and Clean Air programme will include a number of commitments, including a pledge to establish Clean Air Zones around NHS buildings.

Other commitments will include:

  • Creating an ‘NHS Forest’ with 1 million trees planted across the NHS estate – one for each member of staff – helping to save 11,500 tonnes of carbon per year;
  • Installing more than 150,000 solar panels to save the NHS in energy costs;
  • Replacing polluting NHS vehicles with the procurement of low emission vehicles;
  • Investing in efficient energy systems for NHS buildings in order to save 1.7 million tonnes of C02 emissions;

‘Climate change is one of the greatest threats we face. More frequent and extreme weather events, heatwaves and deteriorating air quality increasingly impact on our health outcomes,’ Mr Ashworth is expected to say.

‘Air pollution kills up to 40,000 people in England every year costing society more than £20 billion. We have one of the highest rates of asthma deaths for young people in Europe.

‘Our NHS emits 27 million tonnes of C02 per year, around 6.3 per cent of the carbon footprint in England. As health secretary I’ll declare a climate emergency across our NHS. It’s my commitment that a Labour government will deliver the greenest health service in the world. Our ambition is a net-zero NHS.

‘We know our hospitals are in desperate need of upgrade. As we rebuild and repair our hospitals we’ll invest in solar panels and energy efficiency.

‘We’ll move to a fleet of low emission vehicles. When the NHS procures it will do so ethically and sustainably. And we’ll guarantee a right to green space for patients and staff with an “NHS Forest” planting one million trees across our NHS – a carbon storing tree for every member of staff,’ he will add.

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