As an ambassador and enabler of NHS Scotland, National Services Scotland (NSS) aims to become net zero by 2040 or earlier and embed sustainability through the organisation. This 2022 - 2040 strategy highlights themes, commitments and actions to achieve this aim. It includes that greenspace is identified, maximised, and utilised by staff and partners across all NHS properties and nature and biodiversity are valued and increased as part of the infrastructure of their sites.

In this document NSS commits to developing and creating greenspaces on its new and existing sites in the next five years. NSS estate has limited greenspace to support staff welfare, nature, and biodiversity, whilst combatting climate change. Decades of increased demand for private transport have created vast areas of hard and non-porous surfaces as car parks and roads, adding to future site flood risks and poor resilience to climatic changes.

By implementing innovative new ideas, NSS will develop and create greenspaces on its new and existing sites in the next five years. These will provide green health spaces for staff and visitors to improve welfare whilst improving the aesthetic environment and redefining the ‘workplace’. The spaces will act as natural carbon sinks for greenhouse gases, whilst improving the absorption of precipitation and reducing flood risks. The spaces will be maintained to be used by all but with a prioritisation to improving the biodiversity of the immediate environment. An inclusion of flowers and fruit trees will attract pollinators.

Action points relating to active travel, greenspace, nature and biodiversity include:

By 2025:

  • Creation of bee colonies on suitable sites, working with local community beekeepers, encouraging schools’ education with visits, and providing any honey back to food banks.
  • Generate a greenspace plan for each site with focus on improved access, utilisation, biodiversity, and natural environmental defences.
  • Research and development of enhancement potential for Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) basin at National Distribution Centre (NDC).

By 2030:

  • Work with local partnerships and local communities to explore opportunities on local proximal greenspace areas.
  • Encourage green health and use of outdoor spaces by visitors and staff.
  • Develop accessible walking routes on, around and near all existing sites.

By 2035

  • Have established partnerships with communities, charities, and local public sector to promote shared greenspace

Some of the opportunities to embed sustainability cited are:

  • Identify the requirement for greenspace and green health space as fundamental in the Property and Asset Management strategy 
  • Appoint a green health champion on the NSS board and within each Directorate to promote the benefits of green health for all staff and support and drive strategy.

greenspace scotland partnered with NHS Lothian on the NHS Lothian Biodiversity Audit - you can find out more information here - NHS Lothian Biodiversity Audit and Climate Change Assessment