Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and one of its commercial arms have won an international sustainability prize.

The trust and NHS Fleet Solutions, the salary-sacrifice lease car scheme for the public sector, won an International Green Apple Environment Award for efforts to reduce their environmental impact.

Northumbria Healthcare is committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2040, then become carbon-neutral for indirect emissions by 2045.

The trust's Green Plan identifies key areas with carbon reduction targets, including Estates and facilities, Travel and transport, Waste, Procurement and Communication.

Kelly Crews, Head of Sustainability at Northumbria Healthcare, said: "The NHS as a whole is a significant contributor to the country's carbon footprint and we are well aware that we all need to act to reduce our impact and protect the environment, which also has a knock-on effect on people's health and wellbeing.

"Alongside innovations taking place across clinical practice, recent significant steps we have taken include our new sterilisation facility at the Northumbria hospital site in Cramlington, a carbon-neutral development which has replaced two old and inefficient units, as well as our ongoing scheme to decarbonise North Tyneside General Hospital, which will see a reduction in emissions of up to 80 per cent over 15 years."

NHS Fleet Solutions works with 40 per cent of the UK's NHS trusts and public-sector organisations, and can help to reduce carbon emissions through increased use of electric cars.

In 2021, Fleet Solutions registered almost 10,000 electric vehicles, representing one in 20 of all electric vehicles registered in the country, alongside 79 charging points installed across Northumbria Healthcare sites.

With people's concerns around range and charging options, Fleet Solutions offers the option of a home charging point.

David Hanson, Managing Director of NHS Fleet Solutions, said: "Our goal is to ensure NHS and other public-sector staff have affordable access to cars for their work and personal lives. However, we are also very conscious of the environmental impact of petrol and diesel vehicles, so we have been working to boost electric vehicle take-up through a range of initiatives.

"We now have more than 20,000 electric vehicles in our fleet and 72 per cent of all orders during the past 12 months have been for fully electric vehicles, and we want to continue to grow that figure further."