Tower Hamlets healthcare developments set to help tackle climate change

Three new healthcare developments in Tower Hamlets are helping tackle climate change and cut carbon emissions, thanks to an initiative to boost the UK’s biodiversity.

NHS North East London Clinical Commissioning Group (NEL CCG) has teamed up with Creating Tomorrow’s Forests to offset the environmental impact of the three primary care developments: Wood Wharf in Docklands, Goodman’s Fields in Aldgate and Aberfeldy Village in Poplar.

This will be done through carbon sequestration (the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide to prevent it entering earth’s atmosphere) with a tree planting programme. Taking this approach will also support NHS Net Zero plans by 2031.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further reinforced the connection between global public health and healthcare systems and populations across the world. It also highlights the importance of preparedness for future pandemics, and the wider health implications of climate change.

In order to reduce the environmental impact of the three new health centres, Creating Tomorrow’s Forests will be planting a total of 9,800 tree saplings, at Charlotte’s Wood in Somerset, to restore biodiversity and create new habitat for UK wildlife.

This wet woodland will be planted with native trees, supporting a high diversity of rare insects, amphibians and declining bird species. The planting technique used on this project – the Miyawaki Method – will enable the trees to grow 10 times quicker than in a normal plantation.

Steve Collins, Chief Finance Officer and Senior Responsible Officer for Net Zero at NEL CCG, said:

“Our commitments to planetary health are as important to delivering equitable patient care in north east London.

“Building fit-for-purpose healthcare estate is a big priority for us, but it’s also crucial that we plan for carbon offsetting and compensate for our climate impact effectively in creating a fully sustainable health system.”

Nick Hollingworth, Managing Director at Creating Tomorrow’s Forests, said:

“We are delighted to be working with the NHS North East London Clinical Commissioning Group who have shown their commitment to investing in natural capital. “The link between human health and the natural environment is becoming ever more clear, so restoring biodiverse woodland as mitigation for building projects is a fantastic initiative.”

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