Roots planted for new forest

VOLUNTEERS from across the east of England will be donning their wellies and heading to Weston tomorrow (Saturday) to begin planting the very first trees of the NHS Forest. NHS East of England, the first Strategic Health Authority to take part in the proj

VOLUNTEERS from across the east of England will be donning their wellies and heading to Weston tomorrow (Saturday) to begin planting the very first trees of the NHS Forest.

NHS East of England, the first Strategic Health Authority to take part in the project, will initially be planting 144 trees following its pledge, at a national conference for directors of postgraduate general practice last year to plant a tree for each delegate who attended.

The NHS Forest project aims to have 1.3 million trees, representing the NHS' 1.3 million

employees, planted and mature in 20 years time.

The NHS Forest will consist of trees on every NHS site, in the local surrounding area and beyond.

The forest will play a significant part in off-setting the reduced carbon footprint of the health service, and could account for as much as ten percent of the carbon footprint.

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Dr David Pencheon, Director NHS Sustainable Development Unit, said:

"NHS organisations should take every opportunity to protect and enhance the natural environment surrounding NHS buildings.

"This can improve the quality of life for patients, staff and visitors, as well as the long term quality of the environment."

This first planting will also include trees representing:

* The Primary Care Team at Baldock Surgery, Hertfordshire (30 trees)

* Staff at the Endoscopy Unit at East and North Hertforshire NHS Trust (65 trees)

* Staff at the Intensive Cardiothoracic Unit John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford (80 trees).

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