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Planning Guidance sets out expectations for sustainable development

Following last week's publication of the NHS Greener Plan, the NHS Operational Planning Contracting Guidance has set out more detail for how the NHS is expected to improve its carbon footprint, reduce the use of avoidable single-use plastics and tackle local air pollution.


The NHS will develop a national de-carbonisation and climate change plan during 2020. In the meantime, all care systems should have a Green Plan in place (or Sustainable Development Management Plan, SDMP) and a plan to deliver the sustainable development related commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan.


The NHS Operational Planning Contracting Guidance sets out the following:


• Cut business mileages and NHS fleet air pollutant emissions by 20% by 2023/24 with immediate steps in 2020/21 including signing up for a free Green Fleet Review; ensuring all fleet vehicles purchased or leased after April 1, 2020 support the transition to low and ultra-low emissions; ensure any car leasing schemes restrict the availability of high emission vehicles; and end business travel reimbursement for any domestic flights - within England, Wales and Scotland.

• Move to purchasing 100% renewable electricity by April 2021.

• Replace lighting with LED alternatives during routine maintenance activities.

• Ensure all new builds and refurbishment projects are delivered to net zero carbon standards.

• Implement the Estates and Facilities Management Stretch programme, to be published by NHS England/NHS Improvement in 2020, which will set out key activities organisations can take to reduce the environmental impact of their estates.

• Reduce the use of single use plastics by signing up to and delivering the NHS Plastics Pledge.

• Reduce the carbon impact of Metered Dose Inhalers by decreasing inhaler prescriptions where clinically appropriate; reducing the overall carbon impact of all inhalers dispensed at pharmacy; and encouraging patients to return spent devices for 'green' disposal in pharmacy medicine waste.

• Reduce the carbon footprint associated with anaesthetic gases by reducing the proportion of desflurane too sevoflurane used in surgery to less than 20% by volume; and assessing the potential to reduce unnecessary emissions of nitrous oxide to atmosphere.


Other stories related to the 2020/21 NHS Operational Planning Guidance can be found here:

2020/21 NHS Planning Guidance sets tough targets

Proposals to ease the capital planning process confirmed

Download the full guidance document