Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust publishes ‘Sustainable Travel’ plan

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new sustainable travel plan, setting out a five-year strategy to achieve net zero carbon emissions. 

The document, entitled ‘Sustainable Travel: 2022-2025,’ is part of NHS England’s ‘Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service’ plan, which outlines two primary sustainability targets: to reach net zero by 2040 for emissions controlled directly, and to reach net zero by 2045 for the emissions organisations have the ability to influence.  

Provided within the document are sections on the ‘drivers’ for the plan; aims and achievements at Sheffield Children’s to date; targets for the plan and how its’ success will be measured; and an ‘action plan’ detailing how sustainable travel issues at the organisation will be addressed.  

According to the trust, the efforts behind the new plan are underpinned by four key aims, which includes: increasing visibility of sustainable travel information; ensuring there is sufficient infrastructure to support and promote sustainable travel; assessing how care/business models can be adapted to reduce travel, such as virtual appointments, agile working or scheduling; and engaging with the supply chain and others to reduce travel related impacts.  

On the drivers behind the sustainability strategy, the document cites ‘health impacts’ as a significant factor, including air pollution, which accounts for up to ‘500 premature deaths per year,’ with health costs of ‘around £160 million per year;’ and an ‘inactive lifestyle,’ where active travel can help ‘improve the health and wellbeing’ of employees and visitors to the trust, the organisation says.  

Additionally, ‘future trends’ are also stated to be a motivating factor for the introduction of the plan, such as the rising use of electric cars, which may lead to an ‘increased requirement for infrastructure including workplace and community charge points,’ and Sheffield City Council’s ‘Clean Air Zone’ to introduced to Sheffield City Centre.  

Split into three sections, ‘our people,’ ‘our visitors & patients’, and ‘our supply chain & other’, the document details an ‘action plan’ for the strategy.

In relation to its’ staff, the organisation has pledged to ‘continue to develop’ education and training for colleagues to ‘better understand ‘the importance of sustainable travel, working in partnership with the Health and Wellbeing Group; ensure sustainable travel is ‘relevant to all colleagues’, working with the organisation’s existing people networks; and create a ‘sustainable travel working group,’ as part of the Green Network.  

Addressing the travel of the organisation’s supply chain, the strategy includes plans to ‘explore sustainable patient transport options for the organisation’s Embrace Service with Yorkshire Ambulance and be open to providing necessary infrastructure, develop a procurement approach to a ‘more sustainable supply chain’, and collaborate with The Children’s Hospital Charity on the ‘development and delivery of this plan to increase impact.’ 

John Armstrong, Chief Executive, The Children’s Hospital Charity said: “We are delighted to support Sheffield Children’s with this important initiative. We are also making a pledge to reach carbon net zero by 2045 and see sustainable travel as an essential part of this. For example, our next pool car at the charity will be an electric car and we will be making less business trips when we can hold video calls instead.”  

Lead for the organisation’s ‘Green Plan,’ John Williams, Executive Director for Finance, added: “I am very proud to be leading the charge on sustainable travel at Sheffield Children’s. The link between air pollution and health for future generations is a key driver for our work in this area, and this must be addressed in order for us to achieve our vision as a Trust.”

To read the document in full, please click here.