An expert team has been carrying out soil investigation work on the Olympic Park site over recent months. They have now investigated the majority of the land that is currently available, which excludes land still occupied by businesses and residents. Site investigations will continue across the remainder of the Olympic Park site before the full remediation work starts in 2007.
Once all contracts have novated across from the London Development Agency (LDA), the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) will take full responsibility for all remediation works. The LDA will continue to take responsibility for ensuring vacant possession of the Olympic Park land and the ODA will work alongside the LDA on an ongoing basis.
(2) what advice she received from Jack Lemley, outgoing chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority, about chemical contamination of the Olympic site; and what action she took on the basis of this advice.
[holding answer 7 December 2006]: In October, I received from Jack Lemley his views on the progress of the Olympic delivery programme, drawing attention to the discussion at the Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) board meeting on 28 September of land remediation on the Olympic Park site. I was already aware of the ODA board discussions and the progress of ongoing site investigations within the park.
As Sir Roy McNulty, acting chair of the ODA, said in his statement issued on 5 December, the Stratford site is complex and much of the land will need remediating before construction. This was known from the very start of the bid process. For that reason, the London Development Agency (LDA) have had an expert team carrying out soil investigation work over recent months.
At the September ODA board meeting chaired by Mr. Lemley, there was a detailed presentation, which included an update from the LDA’s contractors currently on site. This presentation set out for the board the site investigations undertaken to date. These investigations have identified a variety of contaminants, such as metals and hydrocarbons, which are common on sites that have this kind of former industrial use. The expert team indicated that the levels of contamination assessed to date were in line with expectations and that the time allowed for remediation appears to be adequate.
The site investigation contractors have now investigated the majority of the land. The remaining land the ODA does not yet have access to because it is still occupied by businesses and residents who, with the exception of a very few, will be relocated by July 2007 subject to confirmation of the compulsory purchase order. The LDA, with an expert team advising, and the interim ODA team (as it was at that time), had previously identified the technologies required to tackle the contamination and have some of the best contractors available with these technologies ready to treat the soil when the site becomes available.
[holding answer 7 December 2006]: Before engaging KPMG the Department had already opened discussions within Government, in autumn 2005, on the VAT status of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). Our expectation was that ODA would be able to recover its VAT, in common with a number of other bodies which have functions akin to those of local authorities. As part of their work KPMG estimated the amount of VAT to be recovered. DCMS received KPMG's initial assessment of ODA's potential VAT costs in December 2005 and received revised estimates in March, May and August 2006. The Government are continuing to discuss the VAT status of the ODA.
My Department, through the Olympic Projects Review Group (OPRG), made the following recommendations to the Treasury for expenditure related to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games:
January 2006: Olympic Park Design Team
August 2006: ODA Delivery Partner
November 2006: Contribution to DLR Infrastructure Works
In addition, there were various costs associated with the preparation and submission of London’s bid by London 2012 which were approved by the Treasury.
As I said to the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport on 21 November we have had to increase the construction inflation assumption to reflect changes in inflation since the bid, appoint a delivery partner whose overriding responsibility will be to keep the construction programme to time and to budget and secure greater public funding for the Olympic Village and the International Broadcasting Centre. There are also further funding requirements, not yet translated into firm costs, which are a matter for discussion in Government. These include the wider security requirements and programme contingency. In addition the Government are currently considering tax costs as part of their wider consideration of the overall budget.
The cost review to which KPMG provided advice was overseen by a steering group of officials chaired by DCMS. HM Treasury were key members of the steering group, having been involved closely with the development of the Olympic bid since its inception. The steering group, which held its first meeting on 31 October 2005, also included membership from DCLG, GLA, LOCOG, interim ODA and KPMG. There were regular and ongoing discussions between officials of my Department and the Treasury, and across Government, about the findings of the cost review as they emerged and as they were revised as part of the ongoing work. Ministers have meetings regularly on a wide range of issues. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings.
The cost to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport of the consultancy reports referred to in the answer of 4 December 2006, Official Report, column 99W, is not included in the £3.3 billion figure. As I said to the Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport on 21 November, the £3.3 billion relates to the Olympic Park.