Sustainability at NCH&C

Greener NHS banner featuring NHs nurse and child

The NHS recognises that climate change is a major threat to human health.

Air pollution and emissions are linked to killer conditions like heart disease, stroke, asthma, and lung cancer, contributing to around 36,000 deaths annually. Extreme heatwaves caused by climate change also claim hundreds of lives every year.

Action on climate change is imperative for the health of our patients. And with the NHS responsible for 4-5% of the UK’s carbon emissions, the time to act is now.

NCH&C proudly supports the NHS on its journey to become the first net-zero national health service by 2040. Find out more about a Greener NHS.

Our Green Plan

The NHS Long-Term Plan mandates that every individual NHS trust must have its own three-year plan to reduce their carbon emissions. NCH&C’s Green Plan is part of the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System’s Green Plan.

NCH&C Green Plan banner

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Green Plan overview

Over the next three years, we will…

  • Create a culture of sustainability at NCH&C, with a focus on leadership, sustainability training at all levels, and green responsibilities incorporated into job descriptions
  • Prioritise lower-carbon interventions where clinically equivalent, while reducing health inequalities
  • Digitise patient records and systems, providing virtual appointments where clinically appropriate, and reuse and recycle old IT kit
  • Make it easier for staff to choose greener transport options by providing EV charge points, phasing in an LEV fleet, and improving facilities to encourage cycling and walking to work
  • Explore renewable energy for our sites (including solar PV), install smart meters to tackle water waste, improve our recycling facilities, and reduce as much landfill waste as possible
  • Reduce the waste associated with medicines and prioritise the reuse and recycling of medical devices
  • Work towards a net-zero supply chain by prioritising local and net-zero suppliers, opt for environmentally friendly alternatives where equivalent, and prevent unnecessary expenditure and waste
  • Provide healthy and sustainable food choices for patients and staff while reducing food waste and prioritising local and seasonal produce
  • Plan for the increasing effects of climate change by protecting our buildings from extreme weather
  • Regularly benchmark and report on our carbon emissions data to ensure our actions are accurate and transparent
  • Engage and communicate with staff and other stakeholders on relevant sustainability actions within the trust

What have we achieved so far?

In 2023...

  • We installed Electric Vehicle charging points across trust sites and launched an EV charging policy.
  • Launched ReUse-It: a new online forum where colleagues can share unwanted workplace supplies, reducing waste.
  • NCH&C's Waste Manager ran a Lunch & Learn for colleagues to find out more about where our rubbish goes, and the importance of proper disposal.
  • We switched to a more sustainable catering supplier. With products now coming from Colchester rather than Wales, there are fewer delivery miles. Our food is also delivered in recyclable material/packaging.
  • We improved our energy monitoring to target our carbon reduction. We do this through the annual Estates Capital Planning work. This year, we will be ensuring that each building is monitored for gas and electricity consumption.
  • Estates completed decarbonisation surveys of trust buildings to identify further changes, including LED lighting, building insulation and windows. Heating systems upgrades and solar panelling options are also under consideration, which in turn will create a long term plan to lower out energy consumption of the estate.


In 2022...

  • NCH&C joined NHS Forest: an initiative to plant trees in hospital gardens across the country. Tree-planting helps the NHS reach its carbon reduction goals through carbon capture, improves local air quality, and creates green spaces that can improve patient and staff wellbeing. NCH&C has committed to planting six trees outside Norwich Community Hospital's Mulberry Unit, with more coming in future months.
  • The trust updated its sustainability criteria for fleet vehicles to reduce carbon emissions. The salary sacrifice scheme now only offers ultra-low emission vehicles (emitting less than 70g of carbon per km, while the company lease scheme only offers low emissions vehicles (less than 130 g per km).
  • We started removing food waste macerators at three of our sites (Dereham Hospital, Mulberry Unit, and North Walsham Hospital). Instead, food waste will be collected by Biffa and processed by anaerobic digestion to create bio-fertiliser and electricity.  Together, this will prevent 0.75 tonnes of C02 from entering the atmosphere for every tonne of food waste disposed of.

Between 2019 and 2021, the trust reduced...

  • Its electricity consumption by 296,68 kWh
  • Clinical Waste Incineration by 2.2 Tonnes
  • Alternative Waste by 45.32 tonnes
  • Grey fleet mileage by 723,564 miles

We also increased our recycling of waste by 52 tonnes.