The 2014 NHS Sustainability Day took place on 27 March with NHS organisations across the country taking action to combat climate change and raise awareness of sustainability within the health service.
The Sustainable Development Unit, part of NHS England and Public Health England, marked the day by planting a Giant Sequoia tree in the grounds of Capital Park, Fulbourn, near Cambridge. The tree planting is part of the NHS Forest initiative with the aim of greening NHS Estates by planting one tree for every NHS employee, amounting to 1.3 million trees.
NHS Sustainability Day is supported by Prime Minister David Cameron, actor and comedian Stephen Fry and television presenter Chris Packham amongst others.
The tree, Sequoiadendron Gigantium, commonly known as the giant sequoia or giant redwood, is often called the largest living thing on earth. It can grow to 80m high (260ft) with a diameter of 7m (22ft). The tree is destined to become a natural landmark in the centuries ahead.
The tree was planted with the cooperation of the sites owners J.P Morgan and XLB Properties and the estate management company, Savills. The tree was supplied by Pickup and Son.
David Pencheon, Director of the Sustainable Development Unit, said “We are delighted to be planting a tree as part of NHS Sustainability Day and the NHS Forest programme. NHS Sustainability Day demonstrates the ongoing, long term commitment of the health system to tackle climate change and contribute to the creation of healthy, sustainable and resilient communities. The 27th March is a tremendous opportunity for NHS organisations and staff to celebrate this success and also commit to further action to continue the good work.”
The NHS is the largest employer in the UK, owns thousands of properties and has budgets in the billions. Improving sustainability across the health system will have a huge environmental, financial and social impact both for individual organisations and the nation.