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Net Zero

Volume 718: debated on Tuesday 19 July 2022

We are committed to supporting the NHS to achieve net zero by 2040 for direct emissions, with the Government already investing £280 million through the public sector decarbonisation scheme to support that ambition.

The NHS plays a key role in our national attempts to achieve net zero. I was therefore delighted to see the Airedale NHS Foundation Trust submit its plans for a new Airedale Hospital in my constituency. Those plans of course deal with the severe structural risk associated with aerated concrete, but they are also designed to create Europe’s first ever carbon neutral hospital. Does my hon. Friend agree that these are extremely exciting plans and that they are another reason why we should try to achieve a new Airedale Hospital in my constituency?

I thank my hon. Friend, who campaigns hard on this issue for Airedale Hospital. I absolutely understand the urgency around aerated concrete given the effect it is having, and of course I agree that the NHS has a vital role in supporting net zero. He will understand that I cannot commit to any one application. We are reviewing all applications and we aim to make a final decision later this year.

Can the Minister assure me, and the House, that the money used for the purpose of achieving a net zero NHS will have no impact on, for instance, those who are on waiting lists for cataract operations, who cannot even see the environment because they have been waiting for their operations for so many years? Net zero is very important, but what is more important is getting those operations done.

I think we can do both. We have already reduced emissions in the NHS by 30%, and there are a number of ways in which we can reduce them further, from changes in procurement—the NHS will no longer purchase from suppliers that are not aligned with net zero ambitions—to the delivery of estate change.