The NHS has vowed to take steps towards reducing its carbon footprint.
Britain's health service, the biggest employer in Europe, currently contributes approximately 3% of England's total carbon dioxide emissions. The Carbon Reduction Strategy commits the NHS to reduce these emissions by 60% by 2050 in all areas, including procurement, travel and building energy use, and sets out ways that this can be achieved.
Launching the strategy at Kentish Town Integrated Health Centre in London, Health Minister Ivan Lewis said: "As part of our commitment to sustainable development we will work with the NHS to enable organisations to reduce their carbon footprints. Climate change also has real health implications, and so we are taking action to help people adapt to our changing climate."
The NHS is responsible for over 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year and is the largest public sector contributor to climate change. The strategy shows where NHS carbon dioxide emissions are coming from and then proposes actions for reducing that carbon footprint.
Proposals suggested within the strategy include: all NHS bodies to have a Carbon Management Strategy by 2009; organisations to report annually on their sustainable development progress; and for the NHS to recycle 75% of its waste by 2020. The strategy is a draft for consultation and people are encouraged to respond by 21st August.