The media has fallen over itself to provide sympathetic coverage of West Ham's sale of their Boleyn ground. The Guardian headlined their article saying West Ham ‘agree’ to sell the old home ground as if this was something they would have preferred not to do instead of pointing out that developing the Boleyn ground was the whole point of the move to the Aftermath Park.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Tue, 18/02/2014 - 21:18.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Sat, 08/02/2014 - 02:09.
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:
Submitted by Martin Slavin on Sun, 02/02/2014 - 14:44.
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Tue, 28/01/2014 - 20:57.
Kijun Kim started a one man demonstration on 20th January 2014 in the centre of Seoul to protest against the destruction of the unique forest habitat at Mount Kariwang for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in 2018. Little attention has been paid in the media, both national and international, to the environmental destruction which is about to be perpetrated at Pyeongchang. He plans to continue his demonstration for one hundred days. His placard says:
'Mount Kariwan, the best virgin forest in South Korea will be destroyed by the construction of a ski slope for the Winter Olympics'
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Wed, 22/01/2014 - 13:48.
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.
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.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Sun, 12/01/2014 - 22:51.
By Blacklist Support Group
Campaigners celebrated yesterday (Wed 18 Dec) claiming the bitter year long blacklisting dispute on Crossrail and protests at Olympics were totally vindicated following evidence given by Pat Swift to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee in the Westminster parliament. Pat Swift was the head of Human Resources for the BAM - Ferrovial - Kier (BFK) consortium on Crossrail and the manager at the centre of the claims that UNITE shop steward Frank Morris had been dismissed in September 2012 because of his previous union activities.
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Sat, 21/12/2013 - 17:49.
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".
Submitted by Mike Wells on Fri, 04/10/2013 - 13:12.
I 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.
Submitted by Martin Slavin on Thu, 08/08/2013 - 12:59.
As part of the London Olympic Park reopening festival artists Bompas and Parr will contaminate the River Lea - which has suffered unprecedented pollution-related fish kills this week - with bulk quantities of fluorescein dye to turn it a lurid green.
Submitted by Charles Batsworth on Sat, 27/07/2013 - 17:47.
Fish were killed in numbers on Tuesday July 23 by Oxygen depletion of the River Lee downstream of Deephams sewage works in Tottenham. Climate change has created the conditions for an exceptional heatwave to become a more frequent possibility.
The amount of water extracted upstream for human use is considerable. Downstream about 50%-80% of the water body can be treated sewage. During the dry summer months there often isn't enough water-flow to provide reliable conditions for the fish. The amount of dissolved Oxygen in the water in a rain free heatwave can become so depleted that fish begin to suffer.
Submitted by Martin Slavin on Tue, 23/07/2013 - 19:08.
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Fri, 05/07/2013 - 16:42.
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.
Submitted by Martin Slavin on Wed, 01/05/2013 - 16:05.
Back in September Games Monitor reported that the amount of affordable housing in the Aftermath Zone (it's time to think of some more imaginative names than the QEII Park - suggestions welcome) would be reduced to 28%. The LLDC had waited to reveal this to, of all people, an American Community Land Trust organiser, Greg Rosenberg, who was visiting London to promote CLTs.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Tue, 23/04/2013 - 03:41.
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Mon, 01/04/2013 - 00:00.
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.
Submitted by Mike Wells on Fri, 29/03/2013 - 15:13.
In a house in the London suburb of Ealing, hired for the occasion by a film company, an actor playing the part of an average guy, is checking in a mirror how he looks in his recently bought shirt. Out from behind the mirror steps the winner of the recent Olympic women’s heptathlon who reels off some spiel about a 2% discount. The actor/guy plays gobsmacked that this princess should emerge from behind his mirror, announce some cashback offer then humiliate him over his new shoes.
Submitted by Martin Slavin on Thu, 28/03/2013 - 20:00.
Five of the 182 Critical Mass cyclists arrested for riding their bikes near the Olympic Park on the evening of the Opening Ceremony were finally convicted of breaching section 12 of the Public Order Act. Section 12 is intended "to prevent serious public disorder, serious criminal damage or serious disruption to the life of the community." In this instance, the police, taking extraordinary measures under the Olympic state of exception, set up road blocks on bridges to stop the cyclists crossing the Thames, an action which caused far more serious disruption than anything the cyclists were likely to achieve, even if this was their intention.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Mon, 18/03/2013 - 17:30.
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.
For the Olympics the abnormal becomes normal. One of the most astonishing things to happen at London 2012 was the building of an electrified fence around the Olympic Park. The idea that this was necessary or sensible was seldom questioned. It may well be that most people didn’t even realise it had been done. People were constantly surprised when I pointed it out to them. But even those who did know of it probably thought the electricity was only on during the Games. Not so.
In December I asked the ODA
‘Is the electric fence around the Olympic Park still in use as an electric fence? If not, when was it last operated as an electric fence?’
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Thu, 21/02/2013 - 00:52.
So what exactly is an Olympic sports legacy? The Government seems to think it is more spectacles of elite sport. George Osborne has decided to waive tax rules to allow Usain Bolt and other top athletes to attend the Grand Prix event to be held at the Olympic Stadium in the summer. He says this is to ‘secure the Olympic Legacy’. Bolt hasn’t yet said he will come. Boris, son of John, has also weighed in with a spectacle of his own, a two day cycling festival to be attended by up to 70,000 including elite cyclists like Wiggo and Trott. Spiffing away Boris said: ‘"Following the superhuman efforts of our Team GB cyclists last year, thousands of cycling enthusiasts, both experienced and amateur, riding a fantastic route through the streets of our fine city is surely a fitting legacy’.
Elsewhere local media are now regularly reporting so-called ‘Olympic Legacy grants’ being made to clubs around the country. Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Club, for example, has been given £50,000 to ‘revamp facilities’. Warlingham Squash and Racketball Club in Surrey has also got £50,000 to make improvements like putting in a boiler and building women’s changing rooms. Several clubs in Northamptonshire are to share £500,000 to do up their facilities. These grants are described as ‘Olympic legacies’. However, it is hard to see what is specifically Olympic about the grants. They are just National Lottery funds which are being distributed by Sport England from a pot of £16.6million from something called the Inspired Facilities Fund.
A couple of sports festivals and a £16.6million fund are not going to make much impression on the present furore surrounding the decline in school sports funding. Far from inspiring a generation London 2012 saw sport participation in the target group of 16 to 25year olds fall.
Nor does it make up for the £2.175billion taken from the National Lottery for the Olympics. This raid on the Lottery included the loss of hundreds of millions of pounds taken from children’s sport in the name of elite sport. Nor has the DCMS repaid the Big Lottery Fund from which it grabbed £638.098million. After over a year of lobbying and a campaign now supported by more than 3,200 charities demanding the return of £425million of the stolen funds it has indicated it may repay £100 to £150million, but not until 2014 at the earliest. Jowell originally promised to repay all the Big Lottery Fund money. The DCMS also say in an attached Freedom of Information response: 'Repayments will not include interest based on inflation'. Most of that is probably lost for good. The rest, of course, will not be repaid at all.
A full rundown of the money taken from the Lottery, which could have been spent on other, better causes was provided in the DCMS Freedom of Information response:
'a total of £2.175 billion of Lottery funding is included in the £9.298bn public sector funding provision for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games…
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Fri, 08/02/2013 - 04:05.
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.
Mount Kariwang-san is one of the Korean peninsular'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...
...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...
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Sun, 20/01/2013 - 14:54.
NoSochi2014 is a campaign by Circassians living outside Russia, who want to draw attention to the genocide perpetrated against their people 150 years ago. Sochi happens to be the capital of their former homeland, Circassia, so its choice as the location for the 2014 Winter Olympics is a source of further pain as no recognition is given to Circassia or to what occurred a century and a half ago. On the contrary the Sochi Olympics is seen as providing an opportunity for the Russian state to create a new reality and simply paint the Circassians out of history.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Fri, 11/01/2013 - 22:49.
'Save Mt. Kariwang-san, an Ecological Ark of Ancient Forest, from Ski Area Construction for the 2018 Winter Games at Pyeongchang, Korea'
Summary Note on the Controversial Olympic Downhill Condemning a Treasure Mountain
Written by Cho Sang-hee (contact email@example.com)
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Thu, 03/01/2013 - 14:25.
Students have vowed to continue their struggle against UCL's proposals for a Stratford campus after being forced to end their occupation in solidarity with residents of the Carpenters Estate in Stratford. They were served with an injuction after beginning the sit-in on Wednesday 28th after an inconclusive UCL General Council meeting, which failed to agree the University's plan to develop the housing estate at Carpenters Road, Stratford, as a new campus. Students and academic staff have been expressing concern at the plans and offering support to residents over the past months but UCL has pressed ahead regardless in its collaboration with Newham Council prompting the sit-in.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Sat, 01/12/2012 - 02:43.
So now we have it from the horse's mouth. Ian Kerr of The Counsulting Association has given evidence to the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee that 'Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty and possibly Skanska' had used his services to run blacklisting checks on workers employed on the Olympic Park.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Fri, 30/11/2012 - 20:57.
On 1st August a cyclist, Dan Harris, was killed by a bus coming from the Olympic Park at a spot near where TfL had made alterations to the road markings for cyclists on account of the Olympics. Not only had London 2012 failed to provide simple safe routes for cyclists to enter or circumnavigate the Olympic Park during the Olympics, it closed key cycle routes like the Greenway and, just before the Olympics began, the critical towpath on the west side of the Park which was shut without warning for reasons of security forcing cyclists onto busy roads. Local protests were, of course, simply ignored.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Mon, 19/11/2012 - 19:13.
A few weeks ago the Olympics were being hailed for creating lots of temporary jobs over the past six months, 100,000 of them supposedly in the last quarter and possibly up to 65,000 or so in the previous March to May period. Now the 'Olympics effect' has apparently worn off, as the Standard informs us in an article headlined 'Thousands sign on as Olympic jobs boom ends'.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Thu, 15/11/2012 - 00:01.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Wed, 14/11/2012 - 02:17.