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The Green Olympics

How green are the Olympics?

Every effort has been made to ensure that the London Olympics bring about environmental and local community benefits. Some of the ways in which the games will not only protect the environment but actually enhance it are the following:

- Restoration of parkland and waterways: the development of the 500 acre Olympic park and the restoration of the waterways around the Lower Lea Valley will encourage bio-diversity, provide new wetlands for birds, and help to restore natural ecology to the Stratford area.

Currently one of the capital's most underdeveloped areas, the Lea Valley is an area of outstanding potential which will be transformed by the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. The Games legacy will transform this area into one of the largest urban parks created in Europe more than 150 years, stretching 20 miles from the Hertfordshire countryside to the tidal estuary of the River Thames.

A network of footpaths, cycleways and canal towpaths will link the communities on either side of the valley. Riverside housing, shops, restaurants and cafes will provide new amenities for the local community. New playing fields will sit alongside the world-class sport facilities that will be adapted for community use. The natural river system of the valley will be restored, canals would be dredged and waterways widened. Birdwatchers and ecologists will be able to enjoy three hectacres of new wetland habitat. And the park will be planted with native species, including oak, ash, birch, hazel, holly, blackthorn and hawthorn, providing a home for wildlife in the middle of the city.

The rehabilitation of the Lower Lea Valley lies at the heart of the Olympic legacy to east London, restoring an eco-system and revitalising an entire community.

- Low carbon usage: The London Olympics has three carbon objectives

  • environmentally sound venues and infrastructure which reduce energy use and utilise low carbon and renewable energy sources, where feasible 
  • sustainable transport services using low emission vehicles, full public transport access to venues and initiatives promoting cycling and walking 
  • and a programme to provide environmental and social benefits to offset the unavoidable carbon emissions associated with the Games, notably from international air travel.

- Zero-Waste: another of the green principles of the 2012 Olympics is that of recycling waste:

  • At Games-time, London 2012 will deploy the principles of minimising waste at source, maximising recycling and using waste materials as energy sources, where feasible.
  • Waste will be treated as a resource to be recovered and diverted into recycling, compost or clean energy production.
  • The objective will be to divert all waste away from landfill during the Games.
  • Every venue will also feature an education campaign as well as recycling facilities.


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© 2008 Paul Kavanagh. All rights reserved.