The Olympic Park, where most of the stadiums are, was reclaimed from what had been an inaccessible, polluted, abandoned industrial site covering around 250 hectares along the Lea River Valley corridor, which contains important wildlife habitats, including mudflats and reed beds. The Games have transformed it into the largest urban park created in Europe in 150 years, with undisturbed wildlife areas as well as people-friendly parks and gardens.
Workers cleaned the soil, dredged waterways, repaired riverbanks and constructed parklands that eliminated invasive alien species including Japanese knotweed. The landscape was restructured with materials recycled from the site clearance, and the area planted with 4,000 – mostly native – trees such as ash, willow, birch, and London plane, 300,000 wetland plants and meadow plants. Vegetation absorbs rainwater to prevent flooding, and revitalized wetland areas provide habitat for otter, kingfisher, grey heron and water vole. These areas are linked to green open spaces across East London, creating an urban wildlife grid.
Wildlife is even being encouraged to thrive on the Olympic Park’s buildings. Venues feature more than 15,000 square metres of living green and brown roofs, and 675 nesting boxes for bats and birds have been installed.