ODA moves onto Olympic site

The Olympic Delivery Authority, the organisation in charge of transforming a vast swathe of London's East End into a sporting Mecca, took control of the 300 hectare site this week.

With a strong focus on developing a sustainable site and a mammoth land remediation task ahead of it, the Olympic build offers a wealth of opportunities for the environmental industries.

Much of the land being used for the site formerly housed industrial facilities and contaminated land companies will have their work cut out for them as an estimate 1.5 million cubic metres of soil will need to be excavated, treated, cleaned and compacted to make the new landscape.

The soil is not the only issue on the site, where invasive Japanese knotweed has taken hold in a number of areas.

Knotweed was introduced to the UK in the 19th century for ornamental use and to prevent soil erosion but its rapid growth and density choke out other plants and reduce biodiversity.

It is one of the hardest species to eradicate but one of the hardest plants to eradicate, and it plagues around 4 hectares of the site.

Work is already well underway to remove it and the authorities are optimistic that the task will be complete on time.

Clearing the site will also require an extensive demolition programme and, in keeping with the pledge to make the London games the greenest ever, 90% of the material from the demolished buildings will be reused on site, primarily as aggregate but intact where possible.

The site will also act as a showcase for renewable energy technologies, using clean energy to power the sporting arenas.

Many of the businesses forced to move to make way for the site have been relocated to Gemini Business Park in Beckton, also designed to have a low environmental impact.

Measures such as PV and solar thermal panels, ground source heat pumps and energy efficient building design have reduced the site’s carbon footprint by an estimated 13% while water conservation technologies are also in place.

Sam Bond

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