Essex and Herts air ambulance taking steps to a greener future
Health / Fri 21st Apr 2023 at 04:25am
COINCIDING with Earth Day on Saturday the 22nd April, Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) has released some of the data around the work it is doing on sustainability.
Important for the life-saving charity is its commitment, to make the very best choices for the environment, its people, and the community. And for the last five years, EHAAT has been working to assess sustainability across the whole organisation, identifying new opportunities to further reduce its environmental impact.
This work has been carried out in conjunction with Carbon Footprint Ltd who, in its most recent Carbon Footprint Appraisal report, has concluded that the charity has achieved a reduction of 21.2% in absolute emissions. This means that EHAAT has qualified to use the Carbon Footprint Standard branding on all its marketing materials, to demonstrate its carbon management achievements.
A pivotal part of the reduction attained is down to the construction of EHAAT’s new airbase at North Weald, which was completed in February 2021. It was designed with environmental considerations as a priority and achieved an energy performance certificate (EPC) grading of A, the highest possible.
The results with regard to electricity costs for the new 24/7 building are impressive. This is put down to the fact that the new airbase went above and beyond the required building regulations, with additional initiatives incorporated that included the installation of photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof, motion sensor lighting inside the building, and an all-electric heating and cooling system.
Yet for EHAAT, sustainability is not just isolated to North Weald, it is also being carried across to its sister airbase at Earls Colne, as well as spreading out through its clinical and retail operations.
For instance, two out of the fleet of four rapid response vehicles are now plug-in hybrid vehicles, and the order is in for two further vehicles to ensure the fleet is totally hybrid within the next few months.
Also, EHAAT’s nine charity shops across the region, as well as its donation centre in Stevenage provide a sustainable and ethical option when people dispose of unwanted goods, promoting reuse and recycling to reduce landfill and make a positive difference to the UK’s carbon footprint.
As well as electric vehicle charging points at both airbases and charity headquarters at Earls Colne, additional steps have been implemented to improve waste segregation and recycling. The Earls Colne airbase is also benefiting from PV panels on the roof, and a new electric eco boiler heating system.
Cliff Gale is Special Projects Adviser for the charity, with one of his remits being managing sustainability.
He said: “As primarily a helicopter operator, there is no getting away from the fact that we are a carbon hungry operation, especially when it comes to fuel. However, we are doing everything we can to help mitigate our environmental impact, reduce our carbon footprint and carry out measures for carbon offsetting, such as planting trees. We are also monitoring closely future innovations, such as the development of sustainable aircraft fuel.
“There has been a whole shift change here at EHAAT from top to bottom, and we are looking to our future. Sustainability is now a standing item on our Board meeting agenda, and the fact that I have been appointed to this new role is testament to the charity’s commitment to drive forward on its aim to be as carbon neutral as possible.”