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Olympics countdown

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The Times Magazine (25th July) contains an interesting update on what’s being done at the 2012 Olympic site in East London and readers of this blog might be interested in two of the people profiled, ecologist Kim Oliver and head of sustainable development Dan Epstien.  Kim’s role as the senior ecologist for construction contractor Atkins  is to assess the site for ‘conservation sensitivity’ and work out how to protect and improve the local environment. The Lower Lea Valley is a  ‘post industrial’ area but Kim has fond kingfishers, peregrine falcons, sand martins, five species of bats, grass snakes, foxes and (now rehomed) feral cats. Even the river yielded up newts (also rehomed), eels, perch, tench and pike.  In a much watched role, the head of sustainable development at the Olympic Development Agency (ODA) is Dan Epstien, a 47 former engineer and forrester who spent seven years in the Himalayas working on local solutions to engineering problems. Dan’s role is produce the ‘greenest games ever’, minimising pollution  and his remit extends to reducing carbon emissions through a combined heat and power plant, treating blackwater and using concrete with a lower lime content and Dan says “if we can show that these are cost effective, commercially viable technologies then this is a huge step forward”. Indeed it is!

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