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London shrugs off IOC concerns over Olympic Park delivery

CULTURE SECRETARY Tessa Jowell has dismissed concerns voiced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission about London's ability to host the 2012 Games.

Jowell described the Commission's view that delivering the main Olympic Park in Stratford would take 'careful planning' as a 'statement of the obvious'.

Her comments followed publication last month of the Commission's report on the bids of London, Paris, New York, Madrid and Moscow to host the 2012 Games.

On London the report said: 'The magnitude of the (Olympic Park) project, including the planned upgrade and expansion of transport infrastructure, would require careful planning to ensure all facilities and rehabilitation projects were completed on time.' But Jowell played down these concerns. 'With the greatest respect, this is a statement of the obvious, ' she said.

Detailed planning of the construction programme is already well under way and 80% of the land for the Olympic Park site is committed, she said. Work would be ready to start on 7 July, the day after the IOC votes in Singapore to select the 2012 host city.

The IOC Commission also expressed concern about London's reliance on $2.34bn in Lottery funding to pay for some of the Olympics facilities.

Jowell said that projections of lottery revenue were conservative and had been audited by the National Lottery Commission to give them credibility.

Planned improvements in London's transport infrastructure were praised by the IOC Commission.

'Provided that this proposed programme of public transport improvements is fully delivered on schedule before 2012- the Commission believes that London would be capable of coping with Games-time traffic, ' says the report.

Transport secretary Alistair Darling said that the bid had answered the IOC's initial reservations about London's transport infrastructure.

'There is no reason on earth why we could not deal well with the transport challenges [of the Olympics], ' he said.

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