Going for Gold: Delivering Excellent Transport for London's 2012 Olympic Games (HC 588-iii)
Transport Committee 9 Nov 2005
Evidence given by Mr Richard Caborn, a Member of the House, Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Ms Karen Buck, a Member of the House, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Mr Ben Stafford, Team Leader 2012 Olympics, Department for Transport.
Q343 Mr. David Clelland: Regardless of what the Minister said about some of these transport infrastructure projects being underway anyway, regardless of the Olympics, one of the great benefits of the Olympics, we have all been told, is that it will create a huge number of jobs in construction over the period. We have heard what has been said about retraining etc., but what danger is there that we will see, in so far as this country is concerned, let alone people coming from abroad, a drain on skills in construction in the regions? How will that affect the regions over the period?
Mr Caborn: One of the big construction projects, just under £5 billion, is now coming to an end and that is terminal five. Some of the skilled personnel employed there could well be coming over to start on this construction. I was talking to CITB and they told me it would only increase by about 2.5 per cent, the workforce in construction, over the period because of the vast amount of work that is already going on, which is huge in terms of that investment. This is one of the issues we have taken up. We believe in upskilling. There are massive pockets of unemployment in the East End of London. We are trying to get into those pockets to retrain and train. That is what we are trying to do through the London Development Agency.
Q344 Mr. David Clelland: If the construction costs because of the Olympics do rise in terms of transport, how is this going to affect local transport plans? Will they still be adequately funded? There may be some local transport plans related to the Olympics.
Ms Buck: If you are asking me: if there is a cost over-run despite everything that has been built in in terms of bearing down on costs, which I feel absolutely confident about, will that lead to a withdrawal of money from your constituency, the answer is no. There was a contingency built in, as there would always be for any scheme of this size, and underlying that there is a memorandum of understanding which ensures that, in the event of cost over-run, it would be shared between the Mayor and the National Lottery fund.
Q345 Mr. David Clelland: I was not asking so much about the normal, standard, local transport plans that local authorities develop but plans that they might specifically have to develop in order to get enough transport because of their involvement with the Olympics, these training camps etc.
Ms Buck: So much of this is building on a transport plan which was underway already. The Mayor of London is underway with a £10 billion, five year transport investment programme. So much of what is being put into the Olympics is already part of that, or indeed some of the other transport infrastructure like the Channel Tunnel Rail Link which is due to be completed in 2007, which further underpins the argument that this is a phased delivery of projects which means that skills bottlenecks are not likely to be on the scale that you are fearing.
Q351 Mr. David Clelland: Do you think that the effects of the Crossrail project in terms of its construction, dust, pollution and everything else, will affect the Games?
Ms Buck: No. The team of people delivering and planning Crossrail are looking at the transport infrastructure projects which, for the most part, are within TFL and the major construction projects on the CTRL, are very conscious of how these schemes would need to interact should those construction projects be running alongside one another.
Q352 Mr. David Clelland: We will have huge boring machines boring tunnels. There is going to be a huge amount of dust and waste carried about all over the place while the Games are going on, is there not?
Ms Buck: I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that, were we to be at a critical point of Crossrail construction during the time that the sports are going on, it would be possible to work out a programme to make sure that we did not have dust and lorries at critical places and at critical times during the Games.
Q388 Mr. David Clelland: The Committee has previously discussed the 400 metres between Stratford Regional and Stratford International Stations and how that might be linked. The Docklands Light Railway extension, which is planned to be completed in 2009, has been put up as an adequate substitute for a travelator. Do you have any comment on that?
Ms Buck: Whether it is a travelator or other "mechanised link", as it is described in the planning permission, is to be negotiated between Union Railways and the London Borough of Newham. We think yes that the DLR extension will provide us with what we need to meet those needs at the stations.
Q389 Mr. David Clelland: So we do not need a travelator?
Ms Buck: We do not believe that the travelator is an essential part of delivering the Olympic provision at Stratford Station.
Mr. David Clelland: Eurostar currently have considered not opening the international station until 2009 when the Docklands Light Railway line is built. Is that something the Minister finds acceptable?
Q393 Chairman: Mr Stafford?
Mr Stafford: I am afraid I cannot really answer that point but we will happily provide you with a note.
Q394 Chairman: Who can in your Department answer that question, Mr Stafford, and why is he or she not here?
Mr Stafford: One of my colleagues in railway projects who deals with CTR I am sure could answer the question. Coming back to your original point, though, the CTR rail link is obviously essential for the Olympics, and that is the date which I personally have been focusing on, it being ready for 2012. Obviously when it actually opens to the public and when it stops at Stratford will depend on whether there are suitable facilities for people to get out at the station and things like that. In terms of the travelator and the link between the international station and the regional station, for the Olympics the main passenger flows are going to be going from the international station to the Olympic Park and the regional station to the Olympic Park.
Q395 Chairman: We know the theory, Mr Stafford; we went to have a look at it. We quite understand that it is the intention for international passengers to come through a different point and then put them on a shuttle and bring them backwards and forwards, but it does not actually answer the question in relation to movement between the two stations.
Mr Stafford: The movement between the two stations is not really relevant for the Olympics because the main reason why people will travel back in that direction from the international station is largely to travel to other venues to the south, for example in Greenwich or around Excel which they will be able to do by using the DLR extension.
Q396 Mr. David Clelland: Yes but the travelator was the Department's preferred method. That was the planning condition, was it not, and now that has changed, has it?
Mr Stafford: No, the planning condition is still there but how that is built and when it is built is a matter for the London Borough of Newham and Union Railways.
Q397 Mr. David Clelland: So we could have the DLR extension and a travelator link?
Mr Stafford: That is certainly one option.
Ms Buck: A travelator is not essential for the Olympics.
Q398 Mr. David Clelland: But has the travelator necessarily been ruled out now because of the DLR?
Ms Buck: No, no, it is an on-going discussion.
Q399 Chairman: It has not been ruled out but it is not being built?
Ms Buck: It has not been ruled out.
This is an uncorrected transcript of evidence taken in public and reported to the House. The transcript has been placed on the internet on the authority of the Committee. Neither witnesses nor Members have had the opportunity to correct the record. The transcript is not yet an approved formal record of these proceedings.
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