Headlines: April 20th, 2001

New targets to improve energy efficiency have been set for the NHS, with the aim of achieving a further 15% reduction in energy consumption by 2010.Since 1990 the NHS has successfully achieved a 20% reduction in energy use. The new target will mean that the NHS will meet the Government’s pledge to put environmental protection at the centre of public sector planning.

All chief executives will be informed of the new targets and issued with guidance on how to improve environmental performance to meet them. NHS Estates will also do more to highlight potential savings that can be made by introducing energy efficient schemes.

The new targets are a proactive method of working towards greater energy efficiency and meeting the Climate Change Programme, supported by the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions.

From 1st April there will be an additional energy levy of 17.5% on oil, gas and electricity used in hospitals. This levy is intended to reduce overall energy consumption. To offset any financial pressures that the levy imposes, NHS Trusts will benefit from a reduction in a 0.3% reduction in National Insurance charges for Trust Staff. The new targets will enable the NHS to meet the Government’s Climate Change Programme without facing additional undue financial pressures.

The Government has highlighted what is possible with the recent Building Better Healthcare Awards, won by Down Lisburn HSS Trust, County Antrim for its Natural gas fuelled combined heat and power plant. The project produces 1715 fewer tonnes of carbon dioxide, and 22 fewer tonnes of sulphur dioxide every year than previous power systems.

The hospital is also saving 44,000 pounds a year on its annual energy bill (about 40%). The cost of building the plant will be paid in just five years.