Plans to create a sustainable ambulance service – reducing carbon emissions by 30% and saving a cumulative £10.6m over the next five years – have been outlined in North East Ambulance Service’s Carbon Management Plan.
In 2012/13 the trust spent over £5.5 million on heating and powering buildings, fuel for the fleet, waste disposal and water use.
Since then, the trust has been working hard to reduce its impact on the environment, installing Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems in a number of properties as well as LED lights, new boilers, heating controls and water saving devices – all accounting for a 24% reduction in the gas and electricity carbon footprint in the 2014/15 financial year and a considerable saving of £161,000.
The trust is now looking at a number of projects to improve this further.
They include installing more solar PV systems and LED lighting, remote heating controls, new boilers, cavity wall and roof insulation.
It is also installing Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs), which extract heat from the outside, to heat some stations rather than a traditional gas fired boiler.
The first ASHP will be installed in Hexham, replacing an old, inefficient, boiler. It will link up with the station’s solar panels on the roof, using the sun’s rays to heat the radiators in the station.
Clare Swift, Environmental and Sustainability Manager at NEAS, said: “We acknowledge that as a major provider of services to the community, our operations and activities will inevitably have an impact on the environment. We are committed to minimalizing this impact as much as possible.
“We don’t underestimate the challenges ahead, especially with our fleet, but we believe with excellent board level support, along with engaged and enthused employees, we have the foundations for creating a sustainable ambulance service we can be proud of.”