My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Jim Fitzpatrick) has made the following Ministerial Statement.
The department has today published a consultation paper on the designation of the Olympic route network (ORN). It sets out proposals for the roads that will form the ORN: a network of roads to be used by athletes, Games officials and the media during the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. The consultation closes on 19 March 2009.
For London, as for other recent host cities, the ORN is a vital part of plans for managing the transport challenge posed by one of the largest events that can take place in a country. The purpose of the ORN is to enable the safe, secure, and efficient transport of the athletes, Games officials and media who are central to the Games between venues and accommodation, while minimising the impact on residents, businesses and visitors. The commitment to have an ORN was included in our Olympic bid, and initial outline proposals for the network were included in the Olympic Delivery Authority’s Olympic transport plan, published in October last year.
The proposed network that is the subject of this consultation is the result of further detailed work led by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), working closely with the Department for Transport, Transport for London, the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and Paralympics Games, local highway authorities and other stakeholders.
We are taking forward this consultation now, more than three years in advance of the Games and with the support of the Mayor of London, because the experience of previous host cities shows the importance for a successful ORN of good preparation and early and effective communication with those who may be affected—including utilities, which typically plan their major works years in advance.
Following consideration of the responses to this consultation, we plan to designate the ORN in the summer of 2009. This is the first stage in a two-stage process to create the ORN. Designation by the Secretary of State will give the ODA the powers to implement temporary traffic management measures on the ORN.
The ODA will, in the second stage, consult widely on potential measures to deliver the best possible solution for the Games, the local area and the road network as a whole. Traffic management measures on the individual routes will be applied for the minimum time possible—in some cases they may only be needed for a few days. Many of the measures will be behind the scenes, such as improvements to traffic signals. Between some key locations on the busiest sections of the ORN, and only where there is sufficient space, the measures may include special lanes with use reserved for Games vehicles.
Copies of the consultation document have been placed in the Libraries of the House.