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2012 Olympic Games 'on track' to be most sustainable ever

The Commission for a Sustainable London (CSL) has given the construction of the 2012 Olympic park at Stratford a glowing report in its annual asessment of the ‘sustainable’ portion of the games - with a few reservations.

In the round, CSL has been impressed with the work done by the Olympic Delivery Authority. According to chair of CSL London 2012 Shaun McCarthy: “The ODA is doing extremely well, and the main flavour is positive.”

He says he anticipates there to be some scepticism over his findings, as many would expect the ODA to water-down sustainability targets in the face of the economic crisis.

“I have found no evidence of watering down,” he said. “The ODA has set groundbreaking standards.”

“In the ground phase, 97% of waste was saved from landfill which is exemplary. There are very good standards for energy efficiency.

“I have interviewed the ODA’s directors, and found them to have sustainability stamped through them like Blackpool rock,” he said.

However, McCarthy has two concerns - that temporary works have not been so highly specified, and there have been lost opportunities as a result.

The main stadium will be wrapped in a plastic wrap. “I calculate that the ODA is buying enough plastic to wrap the Barclays tower in Canary Wharf, that contains their offices, twice.”

He said the ODA needed to: “Put the challenge out to industry, and expect them to come back with something, as the ODA did with its concrete and timber procurement,” he said.

However, he says the timing will mean that there has been a lost opportunity here, and it is too late to find a ‘best’ solution. “We will end up with something that is not perfect, but not a disaster, compared with what we could have done if they had engaged a year earlier.”

Other concerns are with the refrigeration units, using HFC - powerful greenhouse gases, although this is being resolved, and material to pave the stadium that will be removed in legacy - asphalt had been chosen but the ODA are now looking at recycled plastic alternatives.

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