Cost of clearing up contamination at Hertfordshire site is "prohibitive", forcing the ODA to consider an alternative six miles away

The Olympic Delivery Authority is being forced to consider alternative options for the venue for 2012 canoe slalom events after discovering contamination on its original site.

Chief executive David Higgins warned today that the cost of cleaning up the land for the initial venue would be “prohibitive given time and budget restrictions.”

The ODA originally planned to build the venue at Spitalbrook in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, having determined that the site had a low risk of contamination.

However, work by the Environment Agency and the local authority has found evidence of hydrocarbon and tar contamination on the site, believed to have come from previous light industrial use.

The site also lacks a clay barrier beneath the surface, which the EA believes could lead to contamination spreading across the site.

The ODA is now considering using a site six miles away as a replacement, but insists that venue designs would be transferable to the new site.

Higgins said: “We will continue to look at the Spitalbrook site but it is prudent to develop robust contingency plans at this stage.  We have a very challenging timetable and it is important to take swift action when presented with problems.”