Water Plus has sponsored 25 trees to be planted at healthcare sites in England as part of the NHS Forest project. This initiative aims to increase biodiversity and inspire and support healthcare sites in transforming their green space for health and wellbeing.
The NHS Forest is run by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (CSH), as the flagship project of its Green Space for Health programme. The NHS Forest supplies health sites with native tree species, which can be used to create woodlands, orchards and hedgerows – vital habitat for many at-risk wildlife species.
The NHS Forest saplings will go into the ground this planting season, which runs through until March 2023. Water Plus’s sponsorship of these trees is the latest in a series of initiatives which aim to raise awareness about how water is used – and promote ways to protect our natural resources and reduce impacts we can all have on the environment.
Barry McGovaney, Sustainability Lead at Water Plus, said: “We’re supporting the NHS Forest with trees for healthcare sites as we work with organisations, including NHS Trusts, and we want to help the environment and communities.
“We’re also engaging with communities to highlight how saving water – and making what we use go further – can help reduce impacts on the environment – and reduce carbon emissions too. Small, low-cost things like tap aerators can cut hot water and cold water use. If less water needs heating, then less energy needs to be used – so there are less carbon emissions, unless your power is from 100% certified renewable energy already.”
In its awareness raising and engagement work with organisations, the company has helped a rugby club cut its water use by 36% this year, on peak days, and provided over 430 water efficiency devices to a range of sites between December 2021 and the start of April 2022.
A partnership with the charity Trees for Cities, started in April 2021, has also seen 94 trees planted this year – and will see a further 1,700 UK trees planted in city areas.
Amongst other benefits, the trees will help improve air quality, capture CO2 emissions, as well as contribute to managing surface water run-off in the UK, which can contribute to flooding.
The initial 94 trees, which were to target areas of higher pollution in England, were put in the soil in Northumberland in the last planting season, which ended in March 2022. Trees for Cities is also helping to highlight water-saving messaging with Water Plus, including how cutting any waste like drips and reducing hot water use can help the planet.
Rory Field, Partnerships Director at Trees for Cities, said: “Trees for Cities is very pleased to continue our partnership with Water Plus, where we will be planting over 1,700 further urban trees, with 1,000 of these being planted in this planting season. These trees will help to absorb air pollution, sequester greenhouse gasses, mitigate surface flooding, provide homes to thousands of species and subspecies – as well as make our communities healthier and happier.”
Trees for Cities are the only UK charity working at a national and international scale to improve lives by planting trees in cities.
Water Plus is also providing 30 trees this year to EcoPark, run by Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust. As part of the joint work, the Wildlife Trust and Water Plus, which is the largest water retailer in the UK and a Green Apple Environment Award winner, are also highlighting water-saving tips.
25 NHS Forest trees are being planted on, or near, healthcare sites in England. The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare is a registered charity. The tree planting is not for carbon offsetting purposes.
The NHS Forest is a network of healthcare sites working to transform their green space to realise its full potential for health, wellbeing and biodiversity, and to encourage engagement with nature.
Since the NHS Forest was founded in 2009, more than 320 healthcare sites across the UK have joined its alliance. Like all forests, the NHS Forest comprises far more than just trees. Sites involved have established a wide range of green spaces, which offer multiple benefits to people and wildlife. A growing body of evidence points to the benefits of access to green space for mental and physical health.
Many NHS Forest sites have also planted native, perennial wildflowers to support pollinators; this in turn can see the return of wildlife such as bats and house martins.