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As the UK marks Clean Air Day (16 June) the NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Green Plan is set to play its part in helping the NHS cut more than 1m tonnes of C02 emissions in the next three years – the equivalent of taking 520,000 cars off the road.

One of more than 200 new green plans put forward by NHS trusts across England, the plan by NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) sets out how it will reduce its environmental impact and help the NHS reach net zero by 2040. 

Alison Henly, Executive Sustainability Lead for Somerset CCG said: 

“With air pollution alone contributing to 1 in 20 deaths in this country a year, it is clear we are facing a health emergency as well as a climate emergency.”

“Our CCG Green Plan is a testament to our staff’s commitment to tackling climate change, and we are proud to set out the positive actions we will take to reduce our impact on the environment and safeguard the future health of our children and grandchildren. 

“The green plans lay out how the NHS, which contributes approximately 3.5% (9.5 billion miles) of all road travel in England, will make this travel greener. Smarter buildings, LED lighting and energy saving measures are also reducing emissions and saving NHS organisations money, while using intravenous anesthetic instead of gas and helping patients use inhalers more efficiently are improving patient care.

“In Somerset, we have made some good progress on sustainability. Somerset CCG has led the way on prescribing Easyhaler®, the first certified carbon neutral inhaler and GP practices across the county are working hard on reducing their impact on the environment.

“For example, Frome Medical Practice and Primary Care Network (PCN) has received a National Award for Sustainability from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) for the past four years running and is regarded as a forerunner in primary care sustainability.

“They are also the first medical practice to receive Climate Action Funding from the National Lottery for their Green and Healthy Futures project, which they are working in partnership with Frome Town Council and Edventure.

“Our two hospital trusts have also developed a joint green plan setting out how they will meet national NHS targets.”

Dr Nick Watts, Chief Sustainability Officer at NHS England said:

“The NHS was the first health system in the world to commit to net zero and the outstanding innovation and commitment from Somerset CCG is a vital step towards achieving that aim.  

“Doing our bit on climate change will directly improve public health and reduce health inequalities, cutting deaths caused by air pollution and ensuring a healthier future for our children.”