Health and the environment

16. Looking beyond healthcare provision, the NHS has a wider role to play in influencing the shape of local communities. Through the Healthy New Towns programme, the NHS is playing a leading role in shaping the future of the built environment. In spring 2019 we will set out the principles and practice for Putting Health into Place guidelines for how local communities should plan and design a healthy built environment. These have been developed with a network of 12 housing developers who are committed to developing homes that fit these principles. This covers approximately 70,000 homes over the next five years. In 2019/20, NHS England will build on this by working with government to develop a Healthy New Towns Standard, including a Healthy Homes Quality Mark to be awarded to places that meet the high standards and principles that promote health and wellbeing. Embedding these principles within local planning guidance would ensure all future developments have a focus on design that support prevention and wellbeing.

17. The NHS is leading by example in sustainable development and reducing use of natural resource in line with government commitments. In 2016/17 NHS providers generated nearly 590,000 tonnes of waste. Of this only 15% goes directly to landfill, with 23% of waste recycled [190]. Between 2010 and 2017 the health and care sector reduced water consumption by 21%, equivalent to around 243,000 Olympic swimming pools. The carbon footprint of health and social care has reduced by 19% since 2007, despite a 27% increase in activity. This leaves a significant challenge to deliver the Climate Change Act target of 34% by 2020 and 51% by 2025. A shift to lower carbon inhalers will deliver a reduction of 4%, with a further 2% delivered through transforming anaesthetic practices. Additional progress in reducing waste, water and carbon will be delivered by ensuring all trusts adhere to best practice efficiency standards and adoption of new innovations. Key to this will be delivering improvements, including reductions in single use plastics, throughout the NHS supply chain.


190. Sustainable Development Unit (2018) Natural Resource Footprint: Reducing the use of natural resources in health and social care. Available from: resource-footprint-2018.aspx