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Leaders across Oxford support 2040 net zero carbon emissions pledge


Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) has joined forces with major organisations and businesses in Oxford to support the aspiration of achieving net zero carbon emissions as a city by 2040.

Coordinated by Oxford City Council, the group of 21 leaders from the city's NHS trusts, universities, institutions and large businesses signed the Zero Carbon Oxford Charter at the virtual Zero Carbon Oxford Summit (4 February 2021).

The Summit was an opportunity for representatives to showcase their climate plans and action, discuss a collective vision, and establish a formal partnership and collaborative approach to tackling the climate crisis.

David Walliker, OUH Chief Digital and Partnerships Officer, said:

"We are delighted to work with local partners to achieve net zero carbon emissions in Oxford. This matches well with the wider NHS ambitions to become a net zero health service by 2040.

"The health and care system in England is responsible for an estimated four to five percent of the UK carbon footprint, so we have a major role to play in supporting this both as part of the wider NHS plans but specifically for Oxford as an institution with three hospitals in the city.

"As a local, large organisation we recognise our responsibility for the sustainability of our environment. Like others, we have a long way to go with some unique challenges.

"We are already making big changes at OUH - in terms of ensuring our new estate is built using more sustainable methods, switching to low energy LED lighting, and promoting active travel and electric vehicles amongst our staff.

"Since March 2020, we have undertaken more than 100,000 video consultations and a further 300,000 telephone appointments. As we move to recover following COVID-19, we will continue virtual appointments for some patients where clinically appropriate."

Oxford City Council's Scientific Adviser, Nick Eyre, Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the University of Oxford, addressed the Summit confirming that the 2040 net zero date was technically achievable and ambitious for the city.

A detailed roadmap to net zero emissions for Oxford will be published in summer 2021.

Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership

By agreeing to join the Partnership, organisations will be supporting an ambition of achieving net zero carbon emissions as a city by 2040.

The new Partnership, which replaces the Low Carbon Oxford Partnership, will: 

  • provide a collaborative approach to applying carbon reduction measures
  • enable partners to share their examples of best practice and learn from each other
  • develop funding bids and attract financial support for the ambitious and innovative projects which will allow the city to go further and faster in its journey to net zero carbon
  • lobby the UK Government for powers, policy, and funding
  • engage customers, citizens, and communities in shared climate action.

Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader of Oxford City Council and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, said:

"It is more important than ever that citizens, organisations, and governments at all levels show leadership to tackle the climate emergency head-on. 

"The City Council has brought together 21 organisations, and while our summit will last for one day, the Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership that it launches will work every day to become a net zero city. 

"Our joint ambition to become a net zero city by 2040 - ten years earlier than the target set by the Government - is a strong sign of the pace and ambition required."

Register for more updates on the Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership website.