The Commission today published Sustainable? Naturally… its review of biodiversity across the London 2012 programme. The report praises the work being done by the ODA to transform the Olympic Park from a relatively poor environment into a high quality park with a range of natural habitats. They are committed to developing at least 45 hectares of habitat that can make a contribution to biodiversity in the boroughs surrounding the park and have developed a Biodiversity Action Plan setting out how this will be achieved.
The park has the potential to be an excellent example of a new natural habitat developed in an urban setting, linking to the surrounding green and blue spaces. The success of this is dependent on the transformation of the park from Games-time to legacy use and then its long term management. The ODA and then the legacy owners of the park need to ensure that the good work done to date continues and that the ecological value of the park is protected and enhanced, with sufficient monitoring carried out to know how it is developing.
Venues in parks and green spaces
The London 2012 Games will feature venues set in natural environments in and around London, as well as further afield. These will give great opportunities for people to connect with the natural environment whilst attending a sporting event. This opportunity needs to be seized. There is a role for a range of bodies to get involved with making this happen.
Having venues in sensitive green spaces also presents challenges. The ODA and LOCOG have been assessing the ecological impacts of these venues and making plans to mitigate them, along with plans for restoration of habitats after the Games where necessary. The means for managing this restoration when the ODA and LOCOG have ceased to exist is still being determined. The Commission has recommended that they set out how the post-Games restoration of sites will be assured and resourced.
Flowers, medals and timber
LOCOG apply their sustainable sourcing code to all procurement. They are procuring the flowers for bouquets and other displays during the Games, and medals for winning athletes. These will attract attention due to their symbolic significance for the Games. The Commission has recommended that they demonstrate how they will ensure that the flowers and medals can be used as symbols of sustainability at Games-time.
Both the ODA and LOCOG are committed to using 100 percent sustainably sourced timber. The ODA has been achieving this during construction of the venues. It has proved a fairly resource intensive process but their work has led to an excellent level of performance and notable successes, such as securing sustainability sourced Siberian Pine for the Velodrome track.
LOCOG will be managing their use of timber through their procurement and contract management processes. Their main challenge will be to develop a system to check receipt of timber goods. The Commission has recommended that their contract management processes include effective assurance at point of delivery.