Delays to landscaper tenders may hit Olympics’ green credentials

Date for soft landscaping bids has come and gone

By Matthew Appleby Delays in issuing tenders to landscape the 2012 Olympic Park could cost the London Games millions, say industry figures. Fears are growing that landscaping and planting are falling down the 2012 London Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA’s) agenda, leading to claims that the Olympics will not be as green as the Government promised in its successful tender for the Games. Landscaping tenders for the 2012 Olympics will not be issued for a year, although the industry is already being prepared to do the work and the “lost year” will mean rising costs for the Government. ODA head of procurement Morag Stuart said in November (HW, 30 November 2006) tender documents for soft landscaping would be out in February. ODA project sponsor for landscape and public realm Veronica Senior left in January but her replacement has yet to start. And the Olympic soft landscaping group last met six months ago. HTA business development director Tim Briercliffe said the ODA had been distracted after a promising start on landscaping. “It’s all gone quiet and if the ODA continues with delays it’s going to add cost to them because sourcing plants will become more expensive. “What the Government has is an opportunity to make something special from a green perspective but the longer it leaves it, the more difficult it will be. In reality it will probably spend less on landscaping, thus making the Olympics less good than it could have been. “For the past six months nothing has been going on at the ODA in this area, which is quite disturbing. It seems to have changed its mind and we need to get [landscaping] back on the agenda.” Organiser Mark Glover of industry campaign Greening the Games said: “There is concern within the industry that the process is falling behind the rhetoric on sustainability and landscaping. We have built such a positive relationship with the ODA and other Olympic stakeholders — it’s a trifle concerning that delays seem to be creeping into the system.” An ODA representative said a replacement for Senior would start next month. Meanwhile, ODA design director Alison Nimmo and head of design Jerome Frost are covering the area.

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