BAM Nuttall: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
An environmental investment built to deliver long term benefits
What we know
London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park knits a vibrant area of East London into a modern urban destination, redefining the historic industrial and creative heartlands of Stratford and Hackney Wick, creating an exciting and sustainable place to live, work, study, play, and visit.
The Olympic Park’s award-winning parklands, waterways, and playgrounds are free to visit every day.
It is an enduring legacy of London’s hosting of the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics and proof of the significant change that can be achieved with clear sustainability goals set out in the planning phase, including a Biodiversity Action Plan.[source]
BAM Nuttall, the construction and civil engineering company, was involved in the major regeneration project ahead of the event, transforming derelict wasteland into a fitting setting for the Games.[source]
BAM Nuttall was also contracted to ‘clear, connect, and complete’ the Olympic Park after the Games ended.[source]
What we’re doing
As part of the Olympic Park planning conditions, biodiversity was a major consideration at every step along the way.
For example, 45 hectares of new habitat were required, including 20 hectares of species-rich grasslands to replace the loss of previously designated sites of natural conservation importance on the Park, as well as action plans for 28 species or species groups.
As part of the major regeneration project pre-Games, BAM Nuttall transformed a derelict wasteland into stunning parks and waterways, providing a fitting setting for the Games.
An on-site ‘soil hospital’, the first of its kind in the UK, processed 1.5m tonnes of excavated soil and materials from the demolition and clearance phase. On-site soil treatment allowed over 97% to be reused, which reduced the need for off-site disposal, thereby saving over 90,000 lorry trips.
The project included the construction of a 760 metre-long river wall with sections of HZ-AZ sheet-piled hard wall –the first of its kind in the UK.
Elements of the works (removal and replacement of river walls, piling, grading, and planting of embankments) created wildlife habitats.
After the Games ended, BAM Nuttall connected around 9.5 kilometres of the Games-time road network and the surrounding communities to the heart of the park with new footways and cycle paths.
It also removed several temporary venues, connected surrounding communities to the heart of the park with new footways and cycle paths and reconfigured a number of Games-time bridges and underpasses, and converted several facilities to alternative uses.
Using its online sustainability-reporting tool, BAM SMaRT, BAM Nuttall was able to better understand the waste produced and monitor its progress.
This tool was also used to track recycled content, providing detail on where the material has come from and what percentage is recycled. By the project’s end, 99% of deconstruction materials were reused and recycled.
Soil specifications to allow the reuse of land won sands and gravels were set, reducing transport energy costs for bringing in new or recycled materials from off-site.
BAM Nuttall also collaborated with other contractors to supply 47,140 tonnes of excess material for reuse – reclaimed granular materials were provided to Carey’s for the stadium works, for example.
Landscaping works included the removal and recycling of 300,000m2 hard landscaping into soft landscaping and planting 1.3 million plants.
What it’s worth
Biodiversity was a key driver throughout the design and landscaping, and a key beneficiary as a result.
Numerous and varied nature positive outcomes include increased habitat and species, social amenity value, carbon sequestration, natural flood management, and the strengthening of London’s green infrastructure network.
Additive measures to date include the planting of 4,000 trees and 300,000 wetland plants, and the setting of 525 bird boxes and 150 bat boxes. In addition, eight toadflax habitat patches, four grass snake egg laying sites, two kingfisher nesting banks, two sand martin banks, and two otter holts were created.
Meanwhile, the amount of parkland was doubled to 102 hectares and involved the planting of a further 2,000 trees, ten hectares of meadow, new lawns and two large allotment sites.
The success of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park demonstrates the value of providing biodiversity action plans for all major projects going forward.
The environment, and biodiversity that flourishes, underpin every aspect of our lives, from producing food, supporting mental health and wellbeing, sustaining our local and national economies, to helping mitigate climate change. The loss of biodiversity is one of our biggest sustainability challenges. We'll continue to strengthen collaboration across our project lifecycle, with clients, designers and our supply chain partners to deliver improved biodiversity outcomes.”Adrian Savory CEO, BAM Nuttall Ltd