Ambulance outside of Guys hospital

Health effects of air pollution

Creating a design-led approach to air pollution around hospital settings

With Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

Key partnership information

Partner: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Funding amount: £155,000

Duration: May 2020 – April 2022

Programme: health effects of air pollution


What we’re doing together

Our long-term vision is to scope a multi-year programme of work with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust on air pollution.

At this stage, we believe a design-led approach will be an effective way to engage broadly across the hospital and ensure that the solutions we invest in are addressing clearly defined problems.

To do this, we’ve funded an Air Quality Manager at the Trust, Tanja Dalle-Muenchmeyer, for 18 months to develop a strategy and projects to better protect patients, staff and local communities from air pollution. Some of the areas that will be explored are:

  • A review of the Trust’s fleet and development of a plan to reduce emissions through outbound and inter-site deliveries, starting with provision of cargo bikes for some inter-site deliveries
  • Finding ways to go further than legal requirements to reduce air pollution through the Trust’s future construction projects
  • Using monitoring data to support prioritisation of activities

Staff and patient engagement to further their understanding of air pollution as well as actions that can be taken individually to reduce local pollution levels and limit exposure.

Aims of the partnership

  • The Air Quality Manager develops a strategic plan for the Trust to reduce air pollution
  • The Trust delivers 3-4 key projects which have potential for long-term impact and scale
  • Achieve senior level buy-in and ownership for a programme of work on air pollution, as well as a network of clinicians, managers and wider staff who are engaged on the issue

We would hope to be able to answer some key questions for our programme, such as:

  • How exposed are people to air pollution in this environment?
  • What are the tangible opportunities to protect groups vulnerable to air pollution in the environments they spend their time?
  • What are the ways that local businesses can reduce local air pollution through changes to their operations? What can we learn about the business case for making these changes?
  • How can we best leverage the influence of the NHS and the health sector to encourage others to take or demand action?

Connection to our strategy

We know the hospitals support the groups that we think are disproportionately affected by air pollution. Our current assumption is that the majority of people spend only limited time in these environments and therefore the hospital environment is likely to be responsible for a small proportion of people’s total exposure. However, they are important advocates for the health of these groups.

There is a growing focus on the role of the NHS as anchor organisations within communities. This includes looking at their own supply chain and operations to minimise the environmental impact they have. It is one of the largest employers and businesses in the boroughs with over 17,000 staff.

Lastly, we think there is a long-term opportunity to support the Trust to become a clean air exemplar. The Trust’s main sites are in some of the most polluted areas of London for both nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, and are above the WHO guidance on safe levels of air pollution.


More about Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

The Trust provide a full range of hospital services and have integrated community services in Lambeth and Southwark

Visit their website
Ben Pearce

Have questions about our partnership with Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust?

Ben Pearce leads on our work to find solutions to air pollution

Contact Ben to find out more