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ODA air quality non-compliance could raise budget with £300m EU fine

In a long running story already reported on Games Monitor the green credentials of the 2012 Olympics have come under further strain as the Olympic Delivery Authority continues to refuse to fit polluting non road mobile machinery (NRMM) with exhaust after treatment. While the rest of the UK has complied with European air quality standards London has failed to do so.

This failure rests, in part, on the shoulders of the ODA which has refused to fit filters to cut particulate emissions. In doing so it has also defied the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who required construction sites to follow his office’s best practice guidance. The UK now faces a possible fine of up to £300million at the hands of the European Union, which would have to be counted as a further contribution to the Olympic budget.

Despite claiming to be keen to follow best practice the ODA has, in practice, been stalling on this for well over a year. It has ignored a House of Commons Early Day Motion put down in January 2009 and criticism from the Environmental Industries Commission. Instead of complying the ODA has been conducting a desk study on the issue. According to reports it seems by the time it gets round to fitting the necessary filters, probably in the summer of 2010, two years after it should have acted, the polluting machinery will have left the site.

The ODA is already notorious for its lack of pollution controls at Clays Lane and Leabank Square. As the Statutorily created planning and development control authority the ODA is effectively unaccountable to anyone but itself. According to the ODA website ‘as a public body, the ODA is accountable to Government, the GLA and other stakeholders for its work’. Plainly its stakeholders are unwilling or unable to hold it to account as they should.

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