The London 2012 Sustainability Plan Towards a One Planet

Building in Olympic Sustainability

Here we take an over view of the Sustainable elements of the 2012 Olympic bid.

London is the first Summer Host City to embed sustainability into its planning from the start, aiming to set new standards, creating positive, lasting change for the environment and communities.

A brief overview of the sustainable elements in this large-scale regeneration project reveals the significant detail and thought going into the desire to leave a lasting legacy for the local residents.

For London 2012, 'sustainability' is far more than being 'green'. It's ingrained into the thinking - from the way they plan, build, work, buy, play, socialize and travel - ultimately everything that is being done.

The Olympic Development Authority Sustainable Development Executive Summary doc -

At the centre of it though is the procurement policy and Sustainable Sourcing code -

Sustainability was embedded in the bid for the 2012 Games.

The team committed to:

  • use venues already existing in the UK where possible;
  • only make permanent structures that will have a long-term use after the Games;
  • build temporary structures for everything else.

It is intended that the Games act as a catalyst for change, for the regeneration of and improvement to quality of life in East London, as well as to encourage more sustainable living across the whole of the UK.

Towards a One Planet 2012

The approach is based on the WWF/BioRegional concept of ‘One Planet Living®’ - to help us all live within the world’s resources, rather than using three planets’ worth of resources, as is currently the case in the UK.

The London 2012 Sustainability Plan: Towards a One Planet 2012 - this highlights how the whole scheme aims to host the most sustainable Games to date, and the progress being made.

The Sustainability Plan focuses on five key themes:

  • Climate change: minimising greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring legacy facilities are able to cope with the impacts of climate change.
  • Waste: minimising waste at every stage of the project, ensuring no waste is sent to landfill during Games-time, and encouraging the development of new waste processing infrastructure in East London.
  • Biodiversity: minimising the impact of the Games on wildlife and its habitats in and around Games venues, leaving a legacy of enhanced habitats where we can - e.g. the Olympic Park.
  • Inclusion: promoting access for all and celebrating the diversity of London and the UK, creating new employment, training and business opportunities.
  • Healthy living: inspiring people across the country to take up sport and develop active, healthy and sustainable lifestyles.

Each year a report on progress to date is made -

To ensure promises are met, an independent body, the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, has been set up to monitor us and report back to the public.

Creating sustainable events

The project aspires to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 in compliance with the British Standard for Sustainable Events (BS 8901).

As part of this approach it is essential to ensure that the events hosted leading up to the Games are as sustainable as possible. The Sustainability Guidelines for Corporate and Public Events have been produced to help with this.

A key aspect to our Guidelines, and indeed the whole approach to the Games overall, is to ensure that the project genuinely only uses or hires what we need.

Read more in our Sustainability Guidelines for Events -

The Olympic Park Energy Centre

A new Energy Centre is being built in the west of the Olympic Park to support London 2012’s commitment to use renewable and energy-efficient technology.

The Energy Centre will provide power, heating and cooling systems across the Park for the Games, and for the new buildings and communities that will develop after 2012.

The Energy Centre has a biomass boiler that uses woodchip as fuel to generate heat, and a natural gas powered Combined Cooling, Heat and Power plant (CCHP).

The design of the Energy Centre is sustainable and flexible to allow future technologies to be used within the Centre as they are developed. The project will also be preserving the old: one of the existing mill buildings of historical interest at Kings Yard will be renovated and reused as part of the scheme.

The innovative methods used in the Energy Centre will have environmental and economic benefits. The biomass technologies will create energy, which will reduce carbon emissions (the main greenhouse gas).

The Energy Centre will be available to serve the venues in the Park before the Games, with the VeloPark scheduled to receive heating in the spring of 2010.

Another Energy Centre is also being built in Stratford City, which will provide power, heat and cooling for the Stratford City development. It is being built at the same time as the Energy Centre on Kings Yard.

New trees and wetland plants turn Olympic Park from brown to green

The first of 4,000 new semi-mature trees are taking root in the Olympic Park to help create around 250 acres of parkland on former industrial land.

Around 100 ash, cherry and hazel trees, which were grown in Hampshire, have already been planted.

Work has also started to establish the 300,000 wetland plants, grown in Norfolk and Wales, for the UK’s largest ever-urban river and wetland planting. The first plants were laid on the riverbanks by the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson, TV Gardener Charlie Dimmock, Olympic gold medal winner Jonathan Edwards, Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) Chairman John Armitt, and children of the Olympic Park’s Construction Crew.

New reed beds are being created in a large area of wetlands in the north of the Park. These will help form wider areas of parkland, where visitors during the Games will be able to relax and watch the action on live screens. After the Games the riverside area will be a tranquil space for people and wildlife which will also help protect 5,000 properties in the area from flooding.

ODA Chairman John Armitt said: ‘The parklands will be the centrepiece of the Olympic Park during the Games and are at the heart of the long-term transformation of this part of east London.

‘We have cleaned up formerly industrial land, much of it contaminated, and opened up inaccessible riverbanks to start creating a new great park that will be enjoyed by people and wildlife for generations to come.’

The ODA has today published a document which highlights some of its work on sustainability.

All Information and images courtesy of