NHS urged to consider electric or hybrid

NHS and other public sector organisations have been encouraged to consider replacing high polluting vehicles with low-emission ones at the end of their working life.

Air Pollution: outdoor air quality and health, published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), says that NHS and local authority organisations should also ensure the services they commission identify how they will reduce emissions from their vehicle fleets to improve air quality.

The public sector fleet includes various vehicle types, some of which are highly polluting. Therefore, when replacing vehicles in their fleet, organisations have been encouraged to consider low-emission car, vans and lorries, as well as training drivers in techniques such as smooth acceleration and braking, not over-revving the engine, efficient gear changing, no idling when parked or making a delivery and ensuring tyres are inflated to the correct level can help to improve fuel efficiency and cut emissions.

Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: “The public sector has a key role to play in reducing the emissions from its vehicle fleet. Promoting an efficient driving style can not only reduce the amount of air pollutants from vehicles but also save money through reduced fuel consumption.

“Organisations should make low vehicle emissions one of the key criteria when making routine procurement decisions. This could include selecting low-emission vehicles, including electric vehicles. Lowering road-traffic-related air pollution will help reduce the significant financial costs currently incurred by the NHS through treating related illnesses.”

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