Contamination and Radioactivity
The Greenest Games Ever was one of the claims. A heavily contaminated brownfield "scar" to use the word of David Higgins, Chief Executive of the Olympic Development Authority (and which of course it wasn't by any means). The 2012 site would be fully remediated. A claim that has proven false?
Went to the latest UEL/LLDC seminar on Sustainability last week and got into a bit of a spat with the speakers and another member of the audience over the sustainability example of London 2012. Samantha Heath of London Sustainability Exchange told us how she had, almost single-handedly, got Ken Livingstone to subscribe to sustainability targets of various kinds back in 2002 to 2004 when she was a member of the Greater London Assembly and how this all depended on Ken making top down decisions, all of which may be true. She had just been telling us what a wonderful example of sustainability the London Olympics had been and how it had created a new culture in the UK. I had to disagree with her that the Olympics had been such a sustainability success given, among other things, the botched remediation, the farce of the turbines and the failure to use the canals to shift materials, none of which she disputed. Another member of the audience chipped in about the sponsors and again she agreed this had not been a success, although she was keen on the torch relay which was a puzzle given the advertising platform it provided for Coca Cola.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Mon, 25/03/2013 - 15:53.
Two weeks ago the trial began of nine members of Critical Mass, out of 182 originally arrested, for riding their bikes too close to the Olympic Park on the evening of the Opening Ceremony. Another malicious Olympics prosecution (see p 12), that of citizen journalist and photographer Mike Wells, finally came to an end almost two months ago on 17th January 2013. The story began with an unsubstantiated allegation that Mike assaulted the driver of an excavator at Sandy Lane, the unmade road that runs alongside Leyton Marshes, and ended nine months later at Stratford Magistrate’s Court. Mike’s prosecution occurred against a background of warnings from police and politicians that the authorities would take a hard line in the face of protest and disorder.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Sun, 10/03/2013 - 23:15.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Sat, 26/01/2013 - 23:03.
Not so long ago the ODA was being touted by its former Chair, John Armitt, as a model for running infrastructure projects. Politicians and others should not interfere in these projects, which should receive cross-party support, instead they should be overseen by a quango - like the ODA. Armitt's proposal is backed by the Labour Party, which has created a panel to investigate the management of infrastructure projects. Lord Adonis, one of Armitt's panellists, rushed to endorse his proposal.
Armitt's big idea is based on his claim that the ODA 'got it right'. Far from getting it right the ODA failed to carry out its functions safely, as in the botched remediation, harassed and persecuted local residents affected by its programmes at places like Leyton Marsh and Leabank Square and lied constantly about alleged legacies such as Stratford City or the 'largest new park in Europe for 150 years'.
Now further evidence has emerged of its failure to investigate or even pay attention to allegations of blacklisting by its contractors. The case of Frank Morris was already known back in February 2011. The ODA took no action in response to the protests which followed over either the original sacking of a co-worker or of Frank Morris himself, when he raised objections to the original abuse.
In November 2012, the ODA's Chief Executive, Dennis Hone, told the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigating blacklisting:
“The ODA did not receive any evidence or could find any evidence of blacklisting on the Olympic Park during the construction phase or otherwise." He also claimed that: “At that time there was a discussion with our contractors and we requested evidence from people making the allegations and no evidence was forthcoming. If it had been then we would have gone after the contractors involved."
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Fri, 25/01/2013 - 22:14.
Following the awarding of the Greenwash Gold Medal to Rio Tinto at a ceremony in Trafalgar Square when custard was poured over 'representatives' of the the three nominated companies, Rio Tinto, BP and Dow Chemical, who were then arrested by over-zealous police, War on Want organised the Adidas Exploitation Not Ok Anywhere Price Tags...
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Sat, 11/08/2012 - 03:30.
Submitted by Martin Slavin on Fri, 10/08/2012 - 20:39.
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Mon, 06/08/2012 - 09:03.
Article | Contamination | 2012 Legacy | 2012 Sustainability | Bully Point Nature Reserve | Environment | Habitat and wildlife | Hackney Marsh User Group | Lammas Land | Manor Gardens Allotments | Transport | Travellers
Perfect casting for being hoist by his own petard. It's not everybody has their own Petard. The rich fat bastards have all the fun. That's not raw talent you know. They have the breeding you see. And the fagging. That and centuries of de Feffling about on a wet Saturday indoors with the croquet mallets.
Submitted by Martin Slavin on Thu, 02/08/2012 - 22:43.
Blog | Video | Contamination | 2012 Jobs | Airways | Attractions | Compulsory Purchase | Corruption & Ethics | Crime | Cycling | Legacy | Olympics Studies | Paralympics | Protest | Security | Skills Training | Swimming
Nick Whitten recently posted a guest contribution by Matthew Black of estate agents CBRE on the Estates Gazette Olympics Blog. On their website CBRE describe themselves as 'key property adviser' to the now defunct London Development Agency in relation to the London 2012 Olympic Games bid.
In his contribution Mr Black wrote of the Olympic Park:
It also had its issues including heavily contaminated ground, buildings that were no longer fit for purpose, electricity pylons crossing the whole site and Europe's largest redundant fridge mountain. This was an opportunity to revitalise an area of London that had suffered from a lack of investment for a number of decades and the Games was the opportunity to rectify this and bring it back to becoming a core part of London again.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Wed, 01/08/2012 - 14:53.
By Leah Borromeo
The motto of the Games is "inspire a generation". However, not everyone is enthused. Londoners from the poorest parts of the city facing major upheavals from losing their homes, livelihoods and public spaces to the mercy of a few weeks of medal-chasing over the summer. They believe that the Olympics gave local councils and big business an excuse for a land grab - in which the community had little or no say. When they voice their opposition, they are hushed by the machinery of bureaucracy, the suppression of protest and the reality of losing the roofs over their heads. But their concerns are as real as the Games itself, which have received some £9.3bn in UK public funding. Community life will continue long after the athletes, the fans and the confetti have gone. I spent a week listening to and gathering the stories of Londoners shouting at the walls of an Olympic Jericho.
Joe Alexander, 38, is in property maintenance. He lives on the Carpenters Road estate and is vice chair of the local campaign group Carpenters Against Regeneration Plans. I spent the day with Joe - a quiet, eloquent divorcee and father who moved to Stratford in London's East End in the hopes of starting a new life
Submitted by Carolyn Smith on Sat, 28/07/2012 - 15:51.
So Andy Altman resigns. As the Standard would have it:
Olympics chief Andy Altman resigns amid concerns over main Games stadium http://bit.ly/NM1ASV
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Tue, 19/06/2012 - 14:16.
An Olympic Prison Diary
Prisoner Number A6379CN
HM Prison Thameside
Somewhere in South East London
This diary was written by Mike Wells while incarcerated in Stoke Newington and Leyton police stations, and then in Thameside prison. Mike Wells was arrested after an incident which occurred on Leyton Marshes, site of a contentious Olympic construction project. He is currently free on bail. His bail conditions state that he should not go within a certain distance of a certain Olympic venue. His bail conditions last until his trial is over. The trial date has been set for the last day of the Olympics. He could be imprisoned for a breach of these bail conditions. He will answer a charge of common assault with a not guilty plea. He is a journalist, writer, photographer, and film maker.
No way of knowing if it is day or night unless you ask and are told what time it be. Ten minutes or an hour, or three, time stands on its head...
Submitted by Mike Wells on Tue, 12/06/2012 - 10:41.
The row about Dow at London 2012 goes on. @BhopalMedicalAppeal recently pointed out that Coe had failed to respond to an open letter from AthletesAgainstDowChemical. Coe also promised to meet Dow Campaigners but, unsurprisingly, has failed to do so. Coe has a history of failing to keep promises. He also promised to visit Clays Lane when the estate was facing demolition but failed to turn up or get in touch. Yet a while later, when he was watching the tower blocks at Park Village being demolished along with Radio 4's You and Yours team, he was described by the presenter as having been at the 'sharp end' of dealing with those facing eviction. Coe did not demur and went on to mutter words of sympathy with the evictees.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Fri, 18/05/2012 - 19:27.
Press Release from Drop Dow Now
Monday the 21st May is 100 days to the Paralympic Games, a date marked with controversy due to Dow Chemical’s Paralympic sponsorship.
Campaigners have called for Dow’s sponsorship of the London Paralympic Games to be dropped due to Dow’s ownership of Union Carbide, the company responsible for the Bhopal gas disaster in 1984. The disaster killed over 20,000 and caused injury and illness to thousands more . Hundreds of children continue to be born every year with birth defects .
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Fri, 18/05/2012 - 19:02.
Anyone whose experience of ODA 'drop-in' style consultations has been one of bitter frustration and disappointment might enjoy letting this 2-hour recording play in the background.
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Wed, 16/05/2012 - 19:49.
Which dodgy company most deserves the Greenwash Gold medal in 2012? Who is covering up the most environmental destruction and devastating the most communities while pretending to be a good corporate citizen by sponsoring the Olympic games?
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Tue, 24/04/2012 - 13:44.
5th April 2012
Re: The Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) recent works on Leyton Marshes, close to London’s Olympic enclosure.
Dear Mr Hone, CEO of the ODA
I am writing to you in response to your recent letter addressed to “Dear Resident” in which you attempt to persuade local people that the ODA’s plan to construct a building on Leyton Marshes (classified as Metropolitan Open Space) is justifiable.
Submitted by Mike Wells on Thu, 05/04/2012 - 18:18.
Statement by the Save Leyton Marsh group published on Indymedia. This is accompanied on Indymedia by a statement of support for the campaign from two Leabridge Ward Hackney Councillors, Ian Rathbone and Deniz Oguzkanli, detailing the failures of the ODA to communicate with them and the people living around Leyton Marsh. The behaviour of the ODA is reminiscent of its treatment of the residents of Leabank Square.
The ODA claim they have "no option" but to take legal action against this peaceful protest in order to fulfil their obligations "to provide practice facilities for the Olympic and Paralympic athletes". This is fundamentally untrue. Eleven questions were put to them in December by a number of local councillors and still remain unanswered, including why the ODA chose not to utilize one of several alternative sites that would not require destroying this much loved green space.
Kelmscott Leisure Centre is less than 10 minutes from Leyton Marsh with recently refurbished basketball courts suitable for disabled athletes, it will be shut for the duration of the Games. Walthamstow dog track is a disused brownfield site within 30 minutes of the Olympic park - specified as a requirement for the training facility. These both appear to be reasonable alternatives, but whether these sites were even considered has not been forthcoming despite requests for the selection process to be made available to the public.
Since planning permission was granted for these two huge 11m high 3 storey structure on Metropolitan Open Land, the ODA have refused to engage with local people and their very serious concerns relating not just to loss of green space but alarming health and safety irregularities arising from the construction. From the very beginning, local campaigners pointed out to the authorities concerned that Leyton Marsh was used for landfill and was known to contain unexploded bombs from WWII. Unsurprisingly work had to be halted during the first week of excavations when a bomb was discovered, workers were evacuated but not the surrounding area.
The ODA's own injunction mentions the discovery of asbestos on site, which is highly hazardous to health. Three of the five samples taken from the site survey prior to work commencing had such high concentrations of lead that they constituted 'hazardous waste', it is therefore extremely troubling that the planning application sought to avoid an Environmental Impact Assessment by claiming that only 15 cm of topsoil would be removed. Ian Ansell from Waltham Forest planning department has confirmed that the ODA have already excavated to at least 50cm in breach of their planning permission. Mounds of exposed soil several metres high containing significant concentrations of rubble are piled all around the site.
Whilst Lea Valley Park Authority claim that they are concerned with unlawful use of their land and are "keen to safeguard Leyton Marsh", they saw fit to let the majority of Leyton Marsh for a huge construction project requiring significant concrete foundations, in the process destroying a habitat that has taken years to establish itself and in no way can be restored to its previous condition in October as claimed.
Why have the ODA and WFC failed to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment when excavating several feet deep into the marsh? Why have the ODA and WFC not published the restoration plan that was part of planning conditions? Why are the ODA and WFC committed to destroying protected public land when viable alternatives which provide legacy and regeneration benefits exist? These are the questions to which local residents and councillors want satisfactory answers.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Thu, 05/04/2012 - 01:40.
Open Letter to Meredith Alexander former Commissioner on the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012
30th January 2012
Dear Ms Alexander
I wholeheartedly congratulate you on your decision to resign from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012. As far as I am aware you are only the second person involved with London 2012 who has had the integrity, courage and conviction to take such a morally justifiable action.
Submitted by Mike Wells on Mon, 30/01/2012 - 11:57.
A recent sponsorship deal has seen the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games accept money from Dow Chemical. Dow will provide a fabric "wrap" which will be placed around London's Olympic stadium.
According to Britain's Guardian newspaper the wrap's purpose is to reduce wind inside the stadium. But, as the metaphor says ...
Submitted by Mike Wells on Mon, 19/12/2011 - 15:10.