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Building the Olympic Park on this flood plain has consequences

At 7.20am on Saturday 1 February I received an automated phone call, at home in Lower Clapton in Hackney, from the Environment Agency warning me about the high risk of flooding from the River Lee. At the same time I received this email from them:


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Manor Gardens Allotments: a Scandalous Legacy

The scandalous treatment of the Manor Gardens Allotment Society continues. In the autumn of 2007 the allotments were forcibly, but supposedly temporarily, removed to Marsh Lane Fields in Leyton, now ridiculously renamed Jubilee Park. The original planning permission was granted by Waltham Forest on the strict condition that this was to be a temporary relocation and the allotments were to return to the Olympic Park, although not to their original site, now part of the 'Not the largest new urban park in Europe for 150 years'. Indeed, back in February 2007 so determined was Waltham Forest to ensure the allotments should return that it threatened to throw a spanner in the works when it turned down the LDA’s first planning application forcing the LDA to offer concessions and reapply.

Allotment 4: photo by Martin SlavinAllotment 4: photo by Martin Slavin

But as many predicted at the time once created the likelihood was the allotments at Marsh Lane would not be removed come the end of the Olympics. And so it has transpired with Waltham Forest giving permission for a permanent set of allotments. For the New Lamas Lands Defence Committee, which campaigned to retain the open space at Marsh Lane, this has been a bitter pill to swallow. Not only has the open space been lost but environmental measures which were supposed to have been taken to screen the allotments have never been carried out.

Now the ‘scandal’, as far as Waltham Forest is concerned, is the notion that open space in the Olympic Park should be ‘lost’ to allotments. The original plan was for the allotments to be returned to a site at Eton Manor. Not all the allotments mind you. The LDA refused to treat the allotments as a society, which it was, only agreeing to the return of those individual allotment holders who had moved from the original site.


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Appeal for Information Relating to Health Impacts of Work on Contaminated Olympic Land

Contaminated, unprotected Olympic 'soil hospital' stockpilesContaminated, unprotected Olympic 'soil hospital' stockpiles A number of residents near the Olympic Park have illnesses they believe to be related to proximity with contaminants originating from works on the polluted land of the London Olympic construction site.

My colleagues and I have been have been reporting and researching the issue of contamination in the London Olympic Park. The contamination originates from the site's more than century long base and dumping ground for various noxious industries. Preparation for the Olympic Park included the excavation of almost the entire 2.5 square kilometer site.

During these excavation works there were numerous complaints about dust originating from the contaminated site. We are gathering information about any health issues that may have been caused by dust originating from the Olympic Park demolition and excavation activities including "soil washing operations".


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Press Release: Appeal for Information Relating to Health Impacts of Work on Contaminated Olympic Land

My colleagues and I have been have been reporting and researching the issue of contamination in the London Olympic Park.  We have received information which indicates that there may be health implications for some workers and local residents who have come into contact with this contamination.


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The sterile pleasure garden

A view across the Olympic ParkA view across the Olympic ParkI visited the recently opened part of the Olympic Park on what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year to have a look around. It took a while to take it all in. My most surprising discovery was the almost complete absence of any visible wild life. Apart from pigeons in transit across the space I saw only one wild bird in the three hours I was there. It was probably some kind of Reed Warbler. Hardly surprising given the sheer volume of reeds planted alongside the river. There were small numbers of Damsel Flies, again not surprising given their mobility along the river.


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A Bankrupt Field of Dreams

The fraught disputes over how best to recoup the high construction and maintenance costs of the London Olympic stadium conform to a pattern previously seen elsewhere in England and abroad. The story of the Don Valley stadium in Sheffield provides a cautionary tale of how the visionary delusions of ambitious politicians end up ruining the chances of ordinary people gaining adequate access to affordable opportunities for healthy recreation.


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The London Olympics and the state we’re in

The personal story of Olympic pundit, filmmaker and journalist, Mike Wells: an entertaining yet troubling tale of wrongful imprisonment and intrigue. Wells uses the London Olympics as a lens through which to look at the state of Britain.

The case against me was the result of an unscheduled Olympic boxing match. It occurred in April 2012 at Leyton Marshes outside a construction site where basketball courts were being built for the Games. Local opposition to the basketball facility was passionate because it was being erected on much loved parkland. Protesting grandmothers, dog walkers, and transvestites amongst others had made themselves unpopular by sitting in front of construction vehicles. I was there shooting footage for my film ‘London Takes Gold’.

I arrived at Leyton Marshes, a beautiful green space in East London, to find an excavator working in open parkland without safety measures. ‘Worth filming’ I thought. A passing walker suddenly veered from his course and stood in front of the machine. He started yelling at the driver to stop work owing to the likelihood of crushing dogs and people with the machine’s wildly swinging arm.

Passing walker shouts at digger driver to stop workPassing walker shouts at digger driver to stop work


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Unique Korean habitat in danger from Pyeongchang Olympics

Mount Kariwang-san is one of the Korean peninsula's most important forest habitats. The Uiryong People, of the Good Friends to Nature--Korea NGO, have been campaigning against the destruction of this habitat and have provided images showing the variety of species and the area affected by the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. In the mid-1990s they thwarted a government project to construct a motorway over a key pass in the Mount Pukhan National Park in Seoul...

'Uiryong People', nature conservationists from Friends of Nature - Korea, in front of a giant acer in Chungbong Valley'Uiryong People', nature conservationists from Friends of Nature - Korea, in front of a giant acer in Chungbong Valley


...working ahead of official teams, members of the non-profit organisation conducted a general survey of the woods in the proposed ski area using GPS to spot all the remarkable trees and then counted and measured them over the last two years...


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