From Kings Yard Energy Centre which providing low carbon heating, power and cooling for existing and developing communities, to diverse natural habitat home to hundreds of different species. Discover how we are building upon this legacy below:
Considering where the Park’s energy comes from and how it is used is an important part of ensuring the Park’s sustainability.
The Park’s development considers energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets on a national, city and local level. These targets are met in a number of ways:
- Park Energy
Clean energy production from a district energy network (DEN). This is fully explained on the Energy Centre page. The DEN has been designed to increase its capacity and efficiency as the Park develops, including scope for new, lower carbon energy technologies.
During 2018, 9,181 tonnes of carbon dioxide was saved by the DEN, compared to the 2017 figure of 8,375. This was down to better operation of the equipment inside the energy centres, and a better understand of how the whole DEN is used.
- Tough sustainability requirements for any new developments on the Park
All non-residential buildings must be rated ‘excellent’ by the BREEAM environmental assessment method, and specific to their energy efficiency, they must achieve a 35% reduction in carbon emissions over Building Regulations 2013.
We work closely with events providers to ensure Park events are energy efficient. This includes developing events guidelines to deliver low or zero carbon events at the Park through the use of renewable energy and using energy efficient technologies.
- Corporate Energy
London Legacy Development Corporation is committed and on target to achieving a 25% reduction in corporate emissions intensity over five years (including emissions from energy use in office premises as well as staff travel), monitoring performance, publishing data to set benchmarks and reporting on sustainability targets.
The Park is not only for us to live, work and play in - hundreds of different animals, birds, plants, fish and insects have also made their home on the Park.
The Park plays a role in connecting east London’s biodiversity, as part of the River Lea wildlife corridor between the Thames and open countryside to the North of London, providing 78 miles of connected open spaces.
The Park was largely derelict before the London 2012 Games. Since 2012, the site has been transformed in line with the Park’s Biodiversity Action Plan, which commits us to the delivery of a world-class site for both people and wildlife.
New developments on the Park need to comply with the Biodiversity Action Plan, and all designs and plans are required to address the conservation of existing biodiversity, and the creation of new habitats.
How do we know our Biodiversity Action Plan is working?
Ecological surveys measure and monitor biodiversity across the Park, including a number of specific ‘target’ species. The latest Biodiversity Action Plan Monitoring Report can be found here, and here are the highlights:
- 66 different bird species were recorded on the Park in 2016 including Water Rails, Peregrine Falcons and Kingfishers.
- The north of the Park wetlands are home to a variety of wildlife, including reed buntings and smooth newts.
- The Park has a small population of black redstart, a rare bird that is well-adapted to life in urban environments.
- Seven species of bat have been recorded on the Park since monitoring began, including the Nathusius’ pipistrelle.
- The Streaked Bombardier Beetle was thought to be extinct for more than 75 years until a colony was found by the Thames Barrier in 2006, and has been recorded on the Park.
We’re working closely with our partner organisations to improve wildlife monitoring techniques. This includes using new technology (such as the newly developed bat sensors) to give better ecological survey data – on the Park, and beyond.
Our environmental sustainability commitment on waste is to achieve zero waste direct to landfill through minimising waste production and increasing reuse. The reuse theme was significant in the design and construction of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and venues for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and there are examples everywhere:
- 9,710 Seats from the Basketball Arena and London Aquatics Centre have reused in Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre and other venues around the country
- Bridges used during the games have found new life, with some being refashioned into timber planters that can be seen around the Park, and one complete bridge reused as part of the Lee Valley VeloPark.
- Hub67 is a community centre in Hackney Wick, made out of 80% reused materials from the 2012 Games, including 9 cabins used in the Athletes Village during the Games.
Post 2012 Games high performance standards for reuse and recycling continue across the Park:
- Old Ford Water Recycling Plant and trial produced 87,285m3 of water in its final year, the second highest since its opening
- 97% of parkland and venue green waste recycled
- 99% construction waste diverted from landfill.
Encouraging reuse in the communities around the Park is being developed through our Circular Economy programme. Examples of this include:
- A series of stakeholder engagement workshops that includes Park partners and service users which raises awareness among stakeholders about the circular economy challenges and opportunities
- Launching of our plastic reduction action plan for the Park
- West Ham United and London Stadium in conjunction with the Premier League and Sky Ocean Rescue trial reusable plastic cups to serve all draught beer.
Water is essential to the survival of people, wildlife and wildlife habits. It is also a resource that is essential to our current way of life – not just for flushing toilets, washing ourselves and our clothes, but also for our industrial and economic activities. Our water resources face a number of challenges over the coming years – including the challenges of climate change, pollution, and increasing populations.
Conserving our precious water resources and using them wisely is therefore crucial. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has been designed with these principles in mind.
- Waste water recycling
Thames Water undertook a seven year research and development project on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at the Old Ford Waste Water Recycling Plant. Using innovative technology, Thames Water took effluent from the Northern Outfall sewer and purified it, using a combination of filter and biological processes. This created a form of greywater, 95% as clean as drinking water, which is used to flush toilets in the sporting venues on the Park and irrigate the Parklands. The study concluded in 2019 finding that while technically feasible, the energy intensity and cost of this form of water treatment meant it wasn’t a viable long term solution. The stringent targets for limiting water use are meet instead via grey water and rain water harvesting.
- Flood defence
The north of the Park has been designed as a flood defence. The Park sits towards the bottom of a large valley, which stretches from Hertfordshire down to the Thames. The ‘Wetlands Bowl’ is the area in the North of the Park that sits between the Lee Valley VeloPark and Here East and has been deliberately designed to accommodate flood water. By planting species that can tolerate water, and only placing buildings at the highest points on the banks of the Lea River, the risk of flooding to surrounding developments is greatly reduced, and over 5,000 homes are protects from flooding downstream. This is important as we anticipate that less frequent, but more intense rainfall events will become more common as a part of climate change.
- Cleaner water to support biodiversity
As part of the construction of the Park, a great amount of work has been done to improve the quality of the water within the watercourses. This started with the clearing out of rubbish from the watercourses, with the widening and dredging of these water channels, and finally the shallowing of the banks of these channels to enable wildlife to colonise them. The Stele in the south of the Park demarcate where the edges of the Waterworks River used to be. Our monitoring of the waterways shows that they now support lots of new life and biodiversity.
- Connected waterways to promote leisure and other uses
Waterways used to perform the same function as roads and rail and were used by industry to move people and goods around. In partnership with the Canal and Rivers Trust, a great amount of work is ongoing in the Park to re-connect previously unconnected channels and to introduce new leisure activities on the Park. This includes the restoration of Carpenter’s Lock, which connects the Waterworks River with the Stadium Loop.