Commission comments on the London 2012 Sustainability Plan

December 10, 2009

The Commission welcomes the new edition of the London 2012 Sustainability Plan as an honest appraisal of progress to date and the challenges that London 2012 face to deliver “the first sustainable Games”.

The Commission considers the plan a significant improvement on previous documents in that it provides a rich picture of the wide range of initiatives underway to support the sustainability agenda. Below are a range of comments from the Commission on the areas covered by the report.

General Comments

Both the ODA and LOCOG are breaking new ground, for example, the ODA in relation to demolition waste and LOCOG in the event management sector. We believe though that LOCOG are now in a position to provide greater focus to some of the absolute targets related to the 5 key themes. Specific, outcome-based targets for biodiversity and healthy living would be welcome at a programme-wide level. More prominence should be given to targets already in place, such as emissions limits for vehicles.

Carbon and Climate Change

The work of the ODA and LOCOG to reduce the carbon footprint is commendable but we believe there is an opportunity to create new knowledge about the whole process of construction based on what we have learned.

Waste

The ODA’s waste performance to date is excellent, particularly its approach to demolition waste. LOCOG’s commitment to zero waste direct to landfill is both challenging and unprecedented, and we welcome LOCOG’s new commitment to waste diverted from landfill for temporary materials. However, the Commission is increasingly concerned about the slow development of organic waste disposal facilities in East London.

Biodiversity

The report’s section on biodiversity is much improved and much good work has been carried out in this area but we are concerned about the lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities between the end of construction and Games time, and after the Games.

Inclusion

We are very encouraged by the work on inclusion by the ODA and the programme of work set out by LOCOG. This is establishing a step change from a passive “equal opportunities” approach to a pro-active and dynamic approach to engaging diverse communities. Any organisation wanting to address diversity should look at the ODA and LOCOG for inspiration and practical advice. We look forward to this approach being continued to encourage a truly inclusive Games and legacy.

Healthy Living

Although the plan contains more information about the healthy living agenda, this still appears disjointed. The Commission plans some work next year to review how London 2012 will support the determinants of good health in a cohesive way.

Air quality remains an important issue, with London in serious danger of exceeding legal EU limits on emissions in 2010. LOCOG’s car sponsorship deal with BMW represents an excellent sustainable solution to a tricky issue. A fleet average within the 120g/km target set by LOCOG and the promise to supply Euro Cat 6 standards of emissions is very good. We look forward to the prospect of BP and BMW working together to improve on this promise and deliver a truly exemplary sustainable solution to Games-time transport.

Legacy

Although the report makes reference to legacy related to the 5 key themes, there is no report on progress against the 5 commitments set out in the Legacy Action Plans published by GOE and GLA in early 2008. We remain to be convinced that there is substance behind the promise to make the Olympic Park a “Blueprint for sustainable living”.

The 2009 London 2012 Sustainability Plan update

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