A man bored of London is bored of Life

London 2012

The London 2012 Olympics

London is one of the world's great cities. It will stage an exceptional Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. It can boast all the facilities expected of a global centre for business, culture and sport.

Its landscape is instantly recognisable. Historic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament are world-famous. More than 8,000 acres of parkland add a green heart. And modern icons such as the London Eye bring a 21st century twist.

Its economy is international, with Europe's largest stock market just the most obvious example. It leads the world in insurance and finance, with nearly 500 overseas banks based in the financial heartland of the City. It is Europe's principal business centre.

And it lives and breathes sport, from existing world-class venues, such as Wimbledon, Wembley and Lord's Cricket Ground, to the public open spaces including Hyde Park, Greenwich and Regent's Park.

Winning the right to host the Games from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is an honour, an opportunity and a challenge. London is ready to deliver.

The site

The planning application was submitted in February. It is one of the largest in European history - a 15 volume, 10,000 page document outlining one of the largest urban parks to be built in the past 150 years. The project is the equivalent of building two Heathrow Terminal 5s - in half the time and with an absolute deadline for delivery.

Three-quarters of the Olympic Park site has been assessed, including surface and deep-level soil testing and 1 quarter has been cleared. Since April 2006, four boring machines have been preparing tunnels in which the cables carryed by 52 overhead electricity pylons will be buried. The first phase was completed on time and to budget with the pylons due to be brought down in late 2008.  

An "E-tendering" service makes it easier for companies of all sizes to bid for contracts. More than 400 ODA contracts have already been awarded. Zaha Hadid's designs for the Aquatic Centre were released last year and Hopkins Architects was recently chosen to design the VeloPark by a panel including Olymic cycling champion Chris Hoy.

The ODA's Sustainable Development Strategy sets out targets to make the Games the greenest yet. These include reducing the event's cardon footprint by 50%, reusing 90% of demolition material, reducing water usage in venues by 40% and ensuring 50% of construction materials are transported by water or rail.

The ODA has identified 10 key milestones to be achieved by the start of the Beijing games next summer. These include starting work on waterways regeneration; beginning construction of a 'gateway' bridge into the Olympic Park and Olympic Village; and finalised designs for the 4 major venues (Olympic Stadium, Aquatic Centre, VeloPark and Media Centres). Beijing will mark the start of the next phase of work, named 'Demolish, Dig, Design'. Design teams are being sought for the temporary venues for basketball and fencig followed later in 2007 by design team contracts for the hockey stadium and facilitaties and Eton Manor, Waltham Forest.

 Olympic Transport

More than £17bn will be invested in transport over the next few years to get it up to scratch. However, work on one of the biggest transport schemes was already underway before London won the bid: the High Speed 1 (HS1) - formerly the Channel Tunnel Rail Link - from St Pancras, which opens in November. Upgrades have already begun on the Jubilee Line and DLR, as well as the nine railway lines which will serve the Olympic Park. In August, work begins on a £104m upgrade of Stratford Regional station.

More that 55,000 athletes, officials and media, 500,000 spectators and 120,000 staff and volunteers will be travelling to the Games each day and the emphasis is on the use of public transport rather than cars to get them there - no parking is permitted anywhere near the main venues and each spectator ticket will allow free travel on all trains, tubes and buses on the day of the event.

Many visitors will use the 140mph Javelin train which can whisk spectators from central London to the Olympic Park in just seven minutes and from Ebbsfleet in 10 minutes. The Javelin goes into passenger service in 2009. The Olympic Park will be served by three main stations, Stratford International, Stratford Regional and West Ham. The aim is to have a train stop every 15 seconds at one of these three stations.

However, in a recent report, the London Assembly said that 8 out of 10 of London's main tourist sites will be inaccessible for the disabled by 2012.  London Underground has said that by 2012, 25 per cent of stations will be accessible for disabled travellers.


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© 2008 Paul Kavanagh. All rights reserved.