Early impacts for London 2012 Games

Olympic Stadium (Photo: London 2012) 8 April 2011

The preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games in London are having a positive impact across several areas, according to a pre-games report funded by the ESRC.

Environmental, economic and socio-cultural factors are included in the study.

In total 56 impact indicators have been assessed in the pre-games report which is part of the Olympic Games Impact Study.

The indicators - 11 environmental, 23 socio-cultural and 22 economic – range from water quality and transport networks to crime rates and housing market.

The Impact Study was introduced by the International Olympic Committee to develop an objective and scientific impact analysis for each Olympic Games, and the 2012 London Games will be the first Summer Olympics to include the impact assessment, with impact data taken over the period 2003-2015.

"Based on the research carried out and evidence gathered, we are confident in reporting that preparations for London 2012 have already had a positive impact in a number of areas," says research leader Professor Allan Brimicombe, University of East London, in a press release.

The environmental indicators rate as generally positive, with major positive impacts on water quality, protected areas and transport networks, and only minor or indeterminate impacts on greenhouse gas emissions and air quality.

For socio-cultural indicators the analyses show a clear positive impact on top-level sports and athletes, anti-doping, crime rates and public services. However the impact is less noticeable on physical activities and school sports, nutrition and health.

Looking at economy the researchers found major positive impacts on public transport, jobs creation and local house building, with - so far - small impacts on house prices, foreign investment or tourist visits in the area.

As well as rating the actual impact, the researchers also ranked the relevance (how much each impact can be directly connected to the 2012 Games activity) and confidence (how much the data can indicate impact ranking).

The report concludes that "no negative impacts were found as a result of preparing for the 2012 Games, some positive impacts were found but many indicators were inconclusive".

The reason for this uncertainty is partly the data available, but also due to East London regeneration which makes it harder to identify impacts directly related to Games activity.

However, it may be too early to identify a positive Games effect in the economic and socio-cultural areas, cautions the impact report.

"While the signs are promising, it is only part of the picture, and we will need to wait for the findings of the post-Games report due in 2015 to understand the full extent to which London 2012 has achieved its targets," adds Professor Brimicombe.

Olympic Games Impact Study – London 2012: Pre-Games Report (PDF, 2.64Mb)