Are these the greenest motor vehicles in the NHS?

14 June 2022

The Northern Care Alliance, the NHS Trust which runs local hospitals and services across Oldham, Bury, Rochdale and Salford, is the first NHS organisation to trial the first fully electric HGV to be made available to the NHS.

The announcement comes in advance of Clean Air Day which will be held nationally on Thursday 16 June – the UK's largest air pollution campaign, bringing together communities, businesses, schools, and the health sector.

Local communities in these areas look set to benefit from improved air quality and reduced carbon emissions in and around their local hospital sites, as one of the country’s largest NHS Trusts trials two fully electric HGVs to deliver its laundry supplies.

The state-of-the-art DAF LF Electric 19-tonne HGV vehicles, built by Leyland Trucks, are being used to transport essential supplies, equipment, and laundry across the four hospital sites run by the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust (NCA).

The trucks are fitted with data logging equipment to help gather essential information to discover and inform the best use for the new transport solution, and ensure it matches the Trust’s service needs and contributes to its aims to achieve net zero by 2040, as outlined in its published Green Plan.

The trial will pilot some of the first technology that will help to shape the use of battery electric vehicles in commercial transport, paving the way for more greener vehicles across the country in future. 

Earlier this year, the Trust also purchased the first EV non-emergency ambulance for their fleet, having trialled a few in 2021. Fitted with the Trailar technology, the fully electric vehicle is believed to be the cleanest, greenest and most energy-efficient in the NHS.    

The NCA is proud to have been offered not only the opportunity to reduce its carbon emissions, but also contribute to reducing air pollution improving air quality, which is notably poorer in some of the areas across Greater Manchester

Dr Owen Williams OBE, Chief Executive of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We’re incredibly excited to be part of this pilot to try new things and discover what these technologies can do for us, as well as move us away from high levels of emissions being brought through our sites and neighbouring communities every day, towards a much cleaner, greener solution that will benefit not only our patients but our staff, visitors and local communities too.

“It’s not just the environmental impact that matters, these plans, technologies and trials work to deliver improved patient care, save lives, improve lives, and reduce costs and waste.”


Greener transport strategy

This important next step in the Trust’s transport strategy compliments the improvements it has delivered over the last few years including a recent pilot with Trailar, a local solar technology supplier who stepped forward during the pandemic with a kind donation for the NCA to help them on their journey to net zero.

Trailar fitted six of the Trust’s existing 7.5 tonne vehicles with specialist technology helping to reduce fuel consumption, burn less fuel and create electrical energy to power onboard equipment. The solar technology means that the vehicle no longer needs to idle its engine when making deliveries to power the tail-lift, due to the new source of clean energy being utilised, reducing emissions further.

The pilot is just one part of the NCA’s wider Green Plan, launched in September 2021, which aims to get the Trust to Net Zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Dr Nick Watts, Chief Sustainability Officer of NHS England and Improvement said:

“The climate emergency is a health emergency, and this is an important step forward in meeting the NHS commitment to reach net zero by 2040. The new fully electric HGV, along with NCA’s other innovative strategies to reduce emissions from its transport and its overarching Green Plan will mean cleaner air and greater wellbeing for its community and patients”.

Northern Care Alliance – Our Green Plan

Approved by the NCA’s Board at the end of September 2021, the Trust’s Green Plan launched in Autumn 2021 signals the NCA’s readiness for change, and outlines the progress made to date around key environmental priorities as well as how the Trust is gearing up to deliver its sustainability strategy, driving research, development, training, and improvement across every part of the organisation which delivers healthcare to communities in Bury, Old-ham, Rochdale, and Salford.

The Green Plan sets out clear decarbonisation targets for the next three years, attached to a number of key areas including travel and transport, procurement, building design and refurbishment, medicines, estates and facilities and food and nutrition.

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