The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has come under fire from environmental lobbyists and London mayor Boris Johnson for failing tackle plant emissions on its sites.
The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) has claimed that the ODA has failed to follow best practice guidance on particulate emissions from plant vehicles. It is campaigning for plant on ODA sites to be retrofitted with filters to cut emissions.
In his draft air quality strategy published in October 2009, London mayor Boris Johnson pledged to reduce particulate emissions from construction sites, demanding that all sites use best practice guidance issued by his office.
London is the only area of the UK that is currently failing to comply with EU air quality standards.
In December the UK was denied extra time to comply, and could now face an EU fine of up to £300M.
Failing to meet standards
None of the Olympic Park plant has so far been fitted with filters under the guidance, said EIC Transport Pollution Control Working Group chairman Mike Galey, even though the ODA said it would commit to implementing the guidance.
The ODA is currently carrying out a “desk study” of the issue that could result in the filters being retrofitted, but Galey says this is likely to be too late.
“Maybe by this summer they’ll start to fit equipment − but that’ll be maybe two years after construction [on key structures] began,” he said. “The most polluting diesel plant will have come and gone away again.”
Some of the newer plant may have been manufactured with suitable in-built technology, said Galey, but it is the older machines that are the most polluting and most in need of filters.
The guidance document The Control of Dust and Emissions from Construction and Demolition, issued by the London Mayor in 2006, states that plant over 37kW should be fitted with suitable exhaust after-treatment equipment from an approved list.
But the ODA had reservations regarding the breadth of approved equipment available, its possible effect on engines, cost benefits, and health and safety issues, said Galey.
An ODA spokesman said it was reviewing the use of retrofitting on site plant with particulate filters “taking into account value for money”.
“The ODA has implemented many measures to cut the effects of its work on air quality, such as a requirement for all contractors to use ultra low sulphur diesel,” he added.