Nottingham

Nottingham City Hospital still burning coal despite quit pledge

Nottingham City Hospital coal
Image caption Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust announced plans to close down its coal boiler in 2017

A hospital trust has spent nearly £750,000 on burning coal - more than two years after it announced plans to shut down its boiler.

An investigation by AirQualityNews found nearly 3,400 tonnes of coal had been used at Nottingham City Hospital in two years.

In 2017 residents campaigned for it to stop to using the coal boiler.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said it needed £24m to upgrade its energy infrastructure.

Coal use in the UK has declined sharply in recent decades, with the government aiming to ban the burning of household coal by 2025.

AirQualityNews said Nottingham City Hospital was one of two hospitals continuing to use a coal-powered boiler, with Goole and District Hospital in North Yorkshire the other.

It found in 2018, the Nottingham hospital burned 2,435 tonnes of coal, spending £563,636, and up until 30 April 2019, it burned 914 tonnes, at a cost of £162,569.

Image caption Colin Wilson said residents were concerned about how much coal is still being burned at the hospital

Colin Wilson, who lives near the hospital, said residents were told the hospital would be switching to oil and gas in 2017, with coal only to be burned for insurance purposes or in emergencies.

He said he and other residents were being affected by pollutants coming from burning the coal and felt "like we have been led up the garden path" by the trust.

"We got lots of bits of grit on window ledges and cars and car windscreens, which scratch them, but they're the bigger bits that we can see," he said.

"The bits that we're actually concerned about are the very tiny bits that you can't see, which are the bits that you breathe in, because some of those are toxic."

Image caption Andrew Chatten said the trust would need £24m to build upgrades to its current energy infrastructure

Andrew Chatten, from the trust, said coal was kept as a secondary system to back up 35-year-old gas boilers "whose resilience is questionable".

He added the trust was "actively engaged" to get funding to replace "ageing infrastructure".

"We've greatly reduced [the use of coal], because we're aware of the issues for local residents," he said.

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