Olympic waste dream in tatters

The goal of the Olympic Delivery Authority to provide low-carbon energy from waste in time for the 2012 games looks beyond reach, according to a report published this week.

An update of the ODA’s sustainability policy was released this week and while the games look like being on track in several key areas, the document openly states that progress on waste infrastructure has been slower than hoped.

The original sustainability policy says the games should be “a catalyst for new waste management infrastructure in East London and other regional venues” and that the London Development Agency should “ensure that the Olympic Park infrastructure is able to deliver zero carbon heat and very low carbon energy by 2016 at the latest, but preferably by 2012…to supply fuel derived from organic waste combined with the renewable energy solutions provided by the ODA.”

But this week there was some back-pedaling, with the report saying it has long been recognised that these targets would be ‘challenging’ and put some of the blame on the waste industry itself.

The report goes on to say it is not yet clear how waste from the games will be dealt with.

“As a result of the difficulties in managing waste in London and the failure of the waste industry to come up with credible schemes, we have seen little evidence of this happening,” it said.

“We are disappointed to report that the opportunity to do this in time for the games has been lost and that any project starting now would be unlikely to be completed and able to supply a reliable source of energy during the Games.

“This is due to a combination of factors including lack of clarity around roles and responsibilities, inadequate response from the waste industry leading to delays in developing and securing funding for projects through the London Waste and Recycling Board.”

David Gibbs

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