Our online NHS Forest conference took place on 18 October 2023 and explored the potential of trees and woodlands on the NHS green estate. In their Green Plans, many NHS trusts identify tree planting as an action, alongside improving the quality of, and access to, those spaces for the health and wellbeing of patients, staff and the wider community.

The event had three themed sessions, each containing several presentations followed by a Q&A, with questions submitted via the audience. You can now watch each of the sessions online.

Pre-recorded keynote from Alexis Percival, Environmental and Sustainability Manager for Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Please note: It has recently been confirmed by the Department of Health and Social Care that the biodiversity duty deadline mentioned in Alexis’ speech does not apply to NHS sites.

Session 1: Trees and woodlands on the NHS estate – a healthcare asset?

In this session we explore the role of trees in urban areas and the contributions that trees make to dispersing air pollution and climate cooling. We consider how we can quantify the value of trees and woodlands on the NHS estate and ask how our knowledge of the extent of tree cover enables us to acknowledge the contribution the NHS green estate plays in the health of the community it serves.

Chair: Warren Percival, Healthcare Director for RSK Group.

Speakers include:

Session 2: Planning for tree planting and woodland creation on the NHS estate

We take a look at the external landscape and consider the NHS green estate in the context of green infrastructure.

We ask what Biodiversity Net Gain is and what it means for the NHS, and explore how tree planting and woodland creation have been facilitated on the NHS estate.

Chair: Ian Stenton, Sustainability Programme Manager, NHS England.

Speakers include:

Session 3 (14:00-16:00): Using the NHS green estate for health and wellbeing

We turn to accessibility and the use of the green estate for health and wellbeing.

We consider how to design spaces in an inclusive way; learn from experiences outside the health sector; and hear from those working on hospital sites about how they have ensured their trees and woodlands can be utilised as a healthcare asset.

Chair: Helen Townsend, Forestry Commission.

Speakers include:

This project is funded by the Trees Call to Action Fund. The fund was developed by Defra in partnership with the Forestry Commission and is being delivered by the Heritage Fund.

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