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Olympic Games 2012: Asset Register

Volume 700: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What steps they have taken to create and administer effectively a comprehensive asset register of all physical assets and intellectual property intended to be used in the 2012 Olympic Games.

My Lords, the Olympic Delivery Authority and its delivery partner have processes in place to maintain registers of the physical assets and intellectual property rights. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games will procure and manage an asset-tracking system. The intellectual property of the 2012 Games is protected by the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006, and the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Act 1995.

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that Answer. Does he share with me a shiver down the spine to hear that the ODA has processes in place, which does not say that the asset registers exist? As for the asset-tracking system, when it is has done its job, will it turn its radar on to the Dome to see if it can find its assets, which were never found because there was never an asset register since the Government did not know how to hold one?

My Lords, the noble Lord often receives from me the reply that we have learnt lessons from the Dome. I cannot promise him that we will return to those Elysian fields. There are four years before the Olympic Games are due to be mounted. We have in place exactly those systems that he recommended should be put in place and that he thought ought to have been in place for the Millennium Dome. Of course, the development of the Dome was somewhat rushed in its later stages, as he will appreciate. The preparations for the Olympic Games are on timetable and working satisfactorily.

My Lords, will the Minister explain to the House why the Minister for the Olympics and London states in the February edition of the Parliamentary Monitor that,

“the wasteland being used for the Olympic park will then become home for 40,000 families in due course”?

If it is correct that a town the size of Hastings is going to be built on the Olympic park, how many hectares of land will be left for green space? If that number is not correct, where will all those homes be built in the Lower Lea Valley and by whom?

My Lords, the intention is to leave two prominent elements as the Olympic legacy: first, the development of homes in east London, partly on the Olympic site—the future use of parts of the Olympic village—and partly in the surrounding boroughs and areas; and, secondly, the creation of the largest park and public open space in Europe in many years.

My Lords, can the Minister assure us that the Government are absolutely content with the record-keeping about the assets of this process? Would the Government care to suggest a reasonable timeframe in which we can look back and see if it has been successful? As the noble Lord, Lord James, has raised this point, at least then we would have a definitive answer and know when we should go and get it.

My Lords, that is an entirely reasonable question. As we intend the full asset register to come on stream over the next year, it will be possible in advance of the Games for that question to be answered definitively. I cannot do that at this stage, but we are four years from the Games and the Olympic authority is clear that the strategies in place and the structures that have been developed will guarantee what we need to do in terms of a successful Games that is within budget.

My Lords, will the housing development envisaged be affordable housing that can accommodate people in London who are not on the best wages and need essential accommodation?

My Lords, the noble Lord will recognise that the housing needed in the boroughs that adjoin the Olympic site is affordable homes. That is largely the intention.

My Lords, I prefer not to comment on Athens. However, we are studying Sydney with care because the Sydney Olympic Games offer us some constructive lessons in the way that they were organised and the asset register was maintained. We are also studying Vancouver’s preparations for the Winter Olympics in 2010. Vancouver is two years ahead of us and has also made considerable progress. We are in touch with both, but I draw a veil over the Athens Olympics.

My Lords, is the Minister aware that there are as yet no plans to define and measure the carbon footprint related to public transport and the Olympic Games? It is already building up with people flying in and out for preparation, training and official business. While we are all being urged, for example, not to use plastic bags and to cut down on car use, it is very likely that the carbon emissions connected with transport will be enormous, and they are as yet uncounted.

My Lords, that is an important consideration. The intention is that the vast majority of people who attend the Games will do so through public transport. That is why significant developments are taking place in Stratford, particularly with regard to the rail system. We all know the significance of the seven-minute journey from King's Cross/St Pancras to Stratford via the Javelin train, but other aspects of public transport are being reinforced. The mayor's intention is that people expect to visit the Games by travelling by public transport in London.