The Aberfeldy Practice declared a Climate Emergency in 2020. The climate and ecological crisis is poses the most significant threat to health and therefore we pledged to:

  • Reduce our own carbon footprint and impact on the planet as far as possible
  • Raise awareness about the threats to health and the opportunities that arise to improve health

The NHS was the first health service in the world to make a commitment to net zero and we fully support this aim.

Good for you, good for the planet!

Many actions that we can take to improve health also reduce our carbon footprint and impact on the planet

  • Exercise
  • Reviewing your medications and thinking about alternatives
  • Diet
  • Respiratory health
  • Air quality and ‘Knitting the air’
  • Green Impact for Health (GIFH) Toolkit
  • Carbon footprinting The Aberfeldy Practice


We encourage all our staff members to be physically active and we are proud to be an Active Practice. Our staff members are encouraged to walk, cycle or use public transport to get to work whenever possible. We are also a parkrun practice  – we welcome our staff and patients to Mile End parkrun which happens every Saturday. You will often find one of us there – walking, jogging or volunteering.

Exercise is a ‘miracle cure’ and has huge benefits on health. When people are active, this keeps people healthy for longer. An added benefit is that it reduces the amount of medicines prescribed and hospital admisssions, which in turn reduces our carbon footprint.

Active transport, rather than using a car, is a way of easily integrating exercise into everyday life, reducing air pollution and carbon emissions. Please try to come to any appointment walking, cycling or using public transport when possible. A win for health and the planet!

Talk to any of our staff or ask to speak to a social prescriber about how you can be more active.

Reviewing your medications and thinking about alternatives

Prescribing medicines is an important part of our work. We will often advise you to take a medicine if we think you might benefit from it.

However, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that many people are taking too many medicines which can be harmful to their health or they are not taking the medicines as they are intended.

Medicines significantly contribute to our carbon footprint and we should therefore only be prescribing when necessary.

Here are some steps which we might consider with you in order to improve your health and reduce the number of unnecessary medications you are taking, whilst simultaneously reducing our impact on the planet:

  • Think about social prescribing
  • Talk about the risks and benefits of talking the medicines and discuss alternatives
  • Talk to us if you no longer want to take a medicine
  • Take any unused medicines the pharmacy where it can be disposed of safely without contaminating the water supply or creating harmful emissions e.g. from inhalers
  • Consider recycling your pens if you use certain insulin pens
  • Please discuss whether you could be using more environmentally friendly inhalers if you have asthma or COPD

Ask your local pharmacist for more adviceDiet

Our current food system contributes significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions and the destruction of our planet. At the same time, diet related ill health costs the UK £5.1million per year.

The foods that are most damaging to our health are often those with the highest emissions. We recommend a diet that is high in plant based foods and lower in animal source foods. This is good for you and the planet!

If everyone followed the Eatwell Guide, people would be much healthier and our emissions would be a lot lower.

Dr Malawana, has also produced this leaflet which explains some of the benefits of eating a plant based diet.

Many of our patients are low in iron. Here is a link to more information about foods that are rich in iron

Respiratory health

Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treatment is important when considering our environmental impact as inhalers account for a significant proportion of our carbon footprint.

This is because one type of inhaler (Metered Dose Inhalers, MDI) use propellants which are very powerful greenhouse gases. However, many people are not using these MDI inhalers correctly and have poorly controlled asthma. There is an opportunity to improve the care given and to reduce our impact on the planet. Read more about this here

Here some tips to improve your asthma or COPD treatment and reduce the carbon footprint:


Air Quality

How does poor air quality affect me?

Air pollution impacts us all. Did you know that Tower Hamlets has the fifth worst air quality of any London borough? As part of our ‘Green Goals’ at The Aberfeldy Practice we aim to raise awareness amongst our patients and staff regarding the harms of air pollution.

Both short- and long-term exposure to air pollution can affect your health.





The Clean Air Hub website has lots of information which can help you learn more about air pollution and how it affects you.

Watch one of our GP’s (Dr Sophie von Heimendahl) explain how poor air quality can affect you and steps you can take to improve the air you breath:

As part of promoting the importance of clean air as a practice we have been taking part in the local Knitting the Air project and we also take part in the annual Clean Air Day, which takes place in June. Please ask staff for more information or if you would like to join us.





‘Knitting the Air’ at The Aberfeldy Practice

The Aberfeldy Practice have been an enthusiastic participant of the local ‘Knitting the Air’ project. Staff have been helping to complete this large-scale visual representation of the levels of pollution from air quality monitors at two sites close to the practice.

Knitters of all abilities from across Poplar and beyond are using their craft to show air pollution data from two local Breathe London air quality sensors.


They project began in March 2023 and the aim is to knit a whole years worth of data so that each month can be displayed. The result is an impressive, eye-catching piece, which is helping build knowledge and understanding on an issue that directly affects the health and wellbeing of the whole community.

Green Impact for Health (GIFH) Toolkit

We are proud to have received the GOLD award for the GIFH Toolkit. This toolkit is designed to help general practices improve their sustainability. The NHS is responsible for 4-5% of the UK’s carbon footprint. The toolkit helped us reduce our harmful impact on the planet. Good for you, good for the planet!

The toolkit provides over 120 action points and suggestions for change that can be made within the practice. As part of the toolkit, we have implemented a ‘switch off’ campaign of electricals when not in use, signed up for the cycle to work scheme and learned how to carbon footprint the practice with an aim to continue reducing ours.


Carbon footprinting the Aberfeldy practice

We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and working in a more sustainable way.

At The Aberfeldy Practice, we believe it is our responsibility to not only provide services within the surgery but to also promote health and wellbeing to the local community outside of the practice. Dr Emma Radcliffe, who many of you have seen within the practice, is also the Primary Care Net Zero Lead, ensuring that the local health service providers are all working together to reach a joint goal of closing in on Net Zero.

Press play to watch a short video where Dr Emma Radcliffe speaks about how air pollution affects our health.