Future for Whipps

In the fourth of a series of articles looking at the redevelopment of Whipps Cross Hospital, Gordon Drakes is pleased to report that being environmentally friendly will be a key design principle in the new build

Campaigners were informed last month that an environmentally friendly hospital and the lowest possible carbon footprint will be a key design principle in the new Whipps Cross Hospital, and that the redevelopment team want this to go further and enable the whole of the site to achieve a carbon neutral footprint.

To cover additional costs, a 3% uplift to the capital bid for building the hospital is to be included. They are aiming to achieve the ‘Excellent’ level of BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). Alastair Finney, the Whipps Redevelopment Director, said they will appoint a dedicated sustainability consultant to the team for the next phase: “We will also make sure there are opportunities for expert stakeholders and local people to be engaged and involved in the work as it progresses.”

The recent election has demonstrated that, aside from the ‘B’ word, securing a sustainable future for the NHS and the planet are perhaps the two most important issues for the British public. So, this is welcome news indeed.

In the summer of 2019, the government enshrined into law a commitment to reach net zero carbon by 2050 (not soon enough, but a positive starting point), and it is clear that if governments of the future are to achieve this target, it will be because of action taken now and over the coming years. Given the scale of the task, the principle of net zero carbon needs to infuse and influence all government decision-making going forward.

How the government spends tax revenue on large-scale land development projects must surely be a prime area for implementing this new environmental modus operandi. Indeed, in the government’s response to a recent report issued by the Climate Change Commission, it acknowledged that the built environment accounts for 40% of national energy use and around one-third of emissions.

Whipps Cross is one of the six hospital developments the government has announced will benefit from a share of a £2.7bn funding allocation. The plans are still in flux and the amount of funding for Whipps is still not confirmed – do sign and share the Waltham Forest Save Our NHS petition to the Secretary of State for Health, which is to be handed in on 14 February. But by putting the environment at the centre of the plans, there is an opportunity to reap many benefits.

Members of Wanstead Climate Action (WCA)joined with local health campaigners to urge Barts Health Trust to ensure that low carbon or net zero carbon is a core principal of the Whipps redevelopment plans. Now that we have a positive response to this plea, we need to keep on the case. There are many hurdles to go through yet.

For information on the future of Whipps, visit wnstd.com/whipps. To view the petition, visit wnstd.com/wxp. For information on WCA, visit wnstd.com/wca