Why the West Ham stadium deal continues to be a burden on taxpayers. And a behind-the-scenes celebration of Tower Bridge.
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Hello there. I'm Matthew Wright. You're watching Inside Out London.
Here's what's coming up on tonight's show.
With HS2 about to get the green light from Parliament,
we find out what impact the rail link could have
I'm worried what they're doing to it.
I'm so scared at the destruction of this perfect habitat.
Some are calling it a scandalous waste of public money.
Tonight we ask why the cost of West Ham's new stadium
As far as I can see, there is no end to taxpayers' money
being used to prop up this white elephant.
And we go behind the scenes of a London icon.
You think of the thousands of people that travel over
the bridge every day, and through the bridge,
and none of them are aware of this massive space that exists here.
Plans for HS2, the high-speed railway between Euston
and Birmingham, are due to get the green light
If things go to plan and then work on the ?56 billion project is due
The trouble is, High Speed Rail may have an environmental cost and,
the construction work could prove very damaging indeed.
Naturalist and broadcaster Mike Dilger
has been to Ruislip to find out more.
I am at Broadwater Lake and I am in wildfowl heaven.
Just looking out there I can see tufted duck,
pochard, shoveller, mallard, in addition to cormorant,
This is an SSSI - a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
It s a haven for thousands of birds that breed here,
feed here and spend the winter in quiet solitude.
This site is managed by the local wildlife trust.
Tim Hill is the conservation manager.
Tim, on a day like today we re seeing Broadwater Lake at its best.
It s one of the most important places in the Colne Valley
because a lot of birds come to this undisturbed refuge from
way beyond this site from up in Rickmansworth down
towards the Thames because it is so quiet and undisturbed.
Undeniably important for birds. What about other wildlife?
The River Colne just behind us here and the lake itself
are important feeding grounds for Daubenton bats - the water bats.
They come here because of the insect life.
But this tranquil spot will soon be home to a construction site.
HS2 plan to build a 3km serpentine bridge through the Colne Valley.
The cutting edge 250mph trains will link the route
reducing journey times by half an hour.
We certainly don't feel it's progress when there s
going to be such devastation to the local environment.
As we sit, where will it go through Broadwater Lake?
So the viaduct will start just beyond the site here and it
will come through in an arc just clipping the bottom corner of
Broadwater Lake and in the distance there across the River Colne
and then through the woodland at the back and into Buckinghamshire.
The wildlife trust believes the construction phase
of the viaduct alone will lead to the disappearance
There's a six-year construction period. Obviously during that time
there will be huge amounts of noise, dust, disturbance and
Potentially devastating to the birds that seek refuge on Broadwater Lake.
MUSIC: Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven
Visitors like Dougal and Toby, who come here every
How do you feel about the impending development?
Can t put it into words really. I can t imagine what this place
is going to be like with great big trains thundering through here.
I ve got a nice list of wildlife that I have
The other important species is the eels.
They are red list, critically endangered, and they manage to swim
all the way here from the Sargasso Sea.
They live up to 30 years in this habitat down this river.
To take this site away for so long is appalling.
I'm so scared at the destruction of this perfect habitat.
This end of the lake is a really important refuge.
There is sailing at the top of the lake which means the ducks
are squeezed into the bottom end and with the noise of construction
for that length of time we are really concerned that
all those wildfowl will be squeezed from both sides
and they will have to find somewhere else to go.
HS2 believes the birds here will adapt to the changes
and says it's set to deliver the greenest railway in the UK.
Where we touch on the Site of Special Scientific Interest
we have a plan for four hectares of wetland re-creation
There won't be the effects that the Wildlife Trust
What are your thoughts about HS2 taking environmental
We don't really think that HS2 have recognised the true impact
of construction and the ongoing running of the railway.
Just a few yards from the lake is Battlesford Wood,
an ancient woodland, which is hundreds of years old.
I'd say it's 250 to 300 years old and it's bed and breakfast
for a whole host of woodland birds and home to probably hundreds
This is an island nature reserve in its own right.
So, Richard, what s so special about this block of wood?
It s got a wide variety of different species, of trees,
different ages of trees, fallen dead wood and fungi
But this area of ancient woodland will soon be lost to the HS2 route.
Although there is less than one hectare here in total
in the 34 woodlands affected there s going to be 30 hectares of ancient
woodland lost-the equivalent of 49 football pitches.
But HS2 believe this loss can be compensated for.
Along the line of the route, yes, we will have 30 hectares that
are affected. We will translocate or move the ancient woodlands soils
from the ancient Woodlands we effect and place that on new ground
perspective we will get to a bigger perspective we will get to a bigger
and better outcome. They are giving the impression that
by translocating soil that will be mimicking ancient woodland
but of course that s not. HS2's response to the loss
of ancient woodland is that they will plant five
hectares for every one lost ? how do We feel it should be at 30 to one
and that would give the appropriate This is setting a precedent
for development in the UK so we feel it should give the ancient woodland
the respect it deserves. As a naturalist, my greatest fear
is what projects like HS2 We already live in one of the most
nature-depleted countries in the world, particularly
in and around London. The State of the Nature report out
recently suggested one in every ten and one of those is
the much-loved hedgehog. Although it may look a bit unkempt,
overgrown, it really The Regent Park is the last park
in Central London to have hedgehogs. We ve probably got 30
or so but 25% of them live I understand the scrubland but the
car park? It does seem slightly odd
but actually it provides a real connectivity between all
the scrublands and we've used GPS But HS2 plan to use this car
park to store lorries making it a danger
zone for hedgehogs. The reason we need to
have the lorries there is to service We will create an access tunnel
that will enable those hedgehogs to continue to thrive and still be
able to use the space. All we are asking them to do
is look for alternatives. If HS2 come here for 20 years
we are saying goodbye I'm back at Broadwater Lake
and dusk is steadily approaching and I'm watching little egrets
coming into roost in those Any day now HS2 will be given
the go-ahead to build what's clearly But along the way there
are definitely going to be some losers - and you know what? I m
looking right at them. We run the bridge as many things, as
a working bridge, tourist attraction, events location, but the
biggest responsibility we have is maintaining the reputation of the
nation's icon. More than four years
on from the 2012 Games, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has
ordered an investigation for West Ham's new home
in the converted Olympic Stadium. The club itself ? which earns
?100 million a year has contributed less
than 1/20th of the refit costs. It was an investigation by BBC
London which first shed light on this situation ? and tonight
Mark Jordan has further revelations about what some are now calling
a scandalous misuse of public money. It's the stadium that made
London proud in 2012. But West Ham's Karren Brady was no
apprentice when she was called She nailed the deal to make it
home for the Hammers. There are skeletons in the closet
for both Labour and Conservative Just painting it Claret
and blue doesn? stop In 2015 we exposed the secrecy,
the stadium's soaring costs. And in this show, it
seems, no-one gets fired! So I'm back to investigate the
soaring price of our Olympic legacy. 17 months ago, campaigners asking
questions about A secret contract made
with taxpayers' money! I think it was collective
embarrassment over We fed off each other's
determination to get some answers. Since our last investigation,
a tribunal finally forced the full We now have those details
AND an even bigger taxpayers' bill. It's led London's mayor
to launch an inquiry. We need to find out how
we got to where we are. We too have questions
for both West Ham and The London Legacy Development Corporation
but both declined an interview. How much do YOU think it cost
to turn this perfect, "used once" Olympic grade stadium
into a football venue? But fans from rival teams have been
tracking the soaring refit bill. We started the campaign,
it was ?170 million. It stayed for a long time at ?272
million as the alleged final bill. But the final bill turns
out to be ?321 million! West Ham paid just ? million
towards that conversion ? less This club earns around ?100 million
a year just in TV rights. Many critics say West Ham got
the deal of the century. Lots of people will be asking
questions about how it's possible for a stadium that cost ?320 million
to transfer from Olympic to football and has cost the football club just
?15 million and an amount of rent Two days after the mayor
announced his inquiry, the stadium's London Legacy
Development Corporation It's a long way from when Boris
Johnson promised taxpayers a profit as he signed off West Ham's 99-year
lease at ?5 million a year rent. This is something that
will now make money - I'm told in excess of ?10
million a year. But those profits are
nowhere to be seen. Boris moved on to become our
Brexiteer Foreign Secretary. Leaked documents currently doing
the rounds at City Hall suggest taxpayers will be picking up
the bill for years to come. As far as I can see there is no end
to taxpayers' money being used They have effectively
been given this stadium The money is mounting
up, the losses. I wouldn't be surprised if we get
rid of a billion on this thing. Team Coe, Jowell and Livingstone
ordered an athletics-only stadium. With that being built,
Boris Johnson then changed the plan to a multi-use stadium,
to include football, You only have to watch a TV home
renovation show to know that the golden rule to staying
on budget is to make a plan, or changing midway that
cost the taxpayer dear? Politicians making
decisions about buildings is an interesting one,
shall we say? There was a clear vision
for what the stadium Once you start messing around
with stuff you may as well knock it It's a big, bold decision
but sometimes, take the pain up front.
Say you got it wrong. It's when you try to justify it
and justify it and the costs In Singapore they did
it oh-so-differently. Designed from day one
for seats to reconfigure London Stadium admits
such tech here is now Your builder will say
thank you very much, that will now cost you double
the whole project. For sports promoter
and former chairman of Leyton Orient Barry Hearn,
the die was cast. A white flag went up from LLDC under
instruction from Mayor Boris Johnson "I don? want this to
be MY white elephant. I've inherited a problem."
Which is true. So Boris got his
multi-purpose stadium. Taxpayers, NOT West Ham,
pay each year to manually install these scaffold-like seats over
the running track. This year's took ten days,
working round the clock. As Boris thought this stadium
will make a profit. Now we find the retractable seats that
were supposed to cost ?300,000 to move
are now going to cost At the London Assembly,
any regrets from those Surely you? look back on that
and think we could have Look, if we knew the seating issue
was going to happen, we would have announced
a bigger figure. But I can apologise
if you like but I don't think But it's an unfortunate
consequence of what's happened. Nor is anyone apologising
that the public are getting the bill for added security,
after clashes like this. This makes it harder to find a brand
willing to part with millions The fact that the stadium
operators pay for security, I think Boris saw light at the end
of the tunnel and unfortunately for him, that light is a train
coming towards him. Back at the London Assembly,
someone is in for a grilling. You don't have to pay
anything for policing? Well, I pay ?5 million a year that
covers all those costs. We got a glimpse of
Karren Brady defending her You can afford to pay ?20.5 million
in a transfer fee and I think police officers come
a bit cheaper than that. No, I have already covered it
in the ?2.5 million that I pay. That covers the cost of policing,
security, maintenance, electricity, I know, you have
asked me three times. I suspect most Londoners would feel
the same way about it. Dr Gillian Evans has tracked
London's Olympic legacy, All balls were in their court
and so they could dictate the terms of the deal because the alternative,
after all that drama and saga, would have been a white elephant -
and that was unthinkable. THE most successful legacy
programme in Olympic history. The stadium IS alive and helping
regenerate the whole area. Come summer, world athletics
and concerts take over. They remain confident the stadium
will one day pay its way. But so far, it's taken over
?300 million of public money. No-one is going to put
hand up in politics Tower Bridge has got to be one
of the most distinctive. Late last year, the Bridge closed
down for three months for essential maintenance
work ? But it did give Inside Out
the opportunity spend time behind the scenes
and find out what goes into running one of the world's most
famous river crossings. Well, from a personal point of view,
it's hard not to be head over heels It's a symbol of the nation,
it's a symbol of London, and it's something that a lot
of people hold very We run the bridge as many things -
as a filming location, as a tourist attraction,
as an events venue, as a working bridge,
but the biggest responsibility we have is maintaining
the reputation of the nation's icon. Over the years we have
been repairing little parts of the bridge,
as they become damaged, but the bridge was starting to look
like a patchwork quilt so it was time to undertake
a substantial project. We closed the bridge on 1st
of October this year at 1201. We shut off the access
North and South. We worked 24/7 at the start
of the project so we had to have We couldn t afford to have a slow
start just on a project like this. If you took this job and put
it in a quiet location in any other place in the UK,
it would be pretty straightforward, but you're very much in the public
eye and then the fact that it is a lifting bridge,
under an Act of Parliament, that makes what is coming
from a pretty straightforward process into quite a complicated,
challenging one, but it makes it a very interesting, unique
project for us to work on. by the work, because the works
was organised around bridge lifts. Even if it was just with 24 hours'
notice, we ve always been able Many years ago, back in 1894,
when the bridge was first opened, it was usually just the master
of the vessel, would just give the bridge driver a wave
and the bridge would be opened. Bridge lifts are completely
free of charge. It's through an Act of Parliament
that we have a legal obligation All vessels have to notify us
in writing, 24 hours in advance, and then half an hour before
the bridge lift we will contact the master of the vessel,
making sure everything is on schedule, and then,
once that has been established, we will do a safety check
on the bridge, with the safety crew. And then when the vessel comes
in sight, the bridge driver will commence with the bridge lift,
closing the road gates and pedestrian gates,
then he will unlock the bridge, Well, we are stood at the moment
on the Tower Bridge glass floor. This has been in place now
for around two years. It has been one of the big
success stories of the What we are seeing at the moment
is the work taking place directly beneath our feet
and the bascules being resurfaced. I've been privileged enough to take
some very interesting and exciting people around the bridge,
including Her Majesty the Queen, but one that will always stick
in my mind was taking David Bowie We went down to the bascule
chambers, and showed him the space down there,
and before he left he said to me, "Chris, this is a fantastic space,
it's been so interesting, and I'll be back.
I want to do something down there." And obviously very sadly we'll never
find out what that something was. But what we have been able to do,
last year, we started up bascule chambers concerts so we were able
to have publicly-ticketed concerts and, as you can imagine,
with the space being as atmospheric as it was that really
added to the performance MUSIC: Im Abendrot
by Richard Strauss The bascules are the two leaves
of Tower Bridge which you can lift up to let tall boats go past,
and the bascule chambers is where the massive 450-tonne
counterweights swing - So when the bridge is at ease,
you can fill the chamber You're still attached to London,
you're very much in London, you're in one of the most iconic
buildings of the world, but from And you think of the thousands
of people that travel over the bridge every day,
and through the bridge on the river, and none of them are aware of this
massive space that exists here. So all of the sounds that you hear,
be it passing traffic, passing river boats,
or the sounds of the bridge itself, you can't deny them so you have
to embrace them in your concert. And when you hear new music
performed in a space like this, which is so resonant,
and so special, and so Victorian, it really lifts you and the whole
experience is really magical. MUSIC: Sweet Child of
Mine. which is I am proud to say,
and we put that down to a lot Personally working on this project
is something that I believe will stay with me for life.
It's not often you work on a Grade I-listed
structure like this. Especially just the whereabouts,
the history behind it, MUSIC: Music For
The Royal Fireworks. I used to walk to work every day
and see cyclists, bobbing along through all the different potholes,
and uneven road surface that we had. Well, now, that has been completely
refreshed and hopefully that has made a big difference in terms
of people's day-to-day commute What an uplifting place
for a concert ? right in the dark
bowels of Tower Bridge! Well that's just about
all for tonight s show. let's have a quick look at what's
coming up on next week s programme. With 400 new tower blocks
in the pipeline, we ask ? is London
becoming the new Dubai on Thames? building skyscrapers does not
improve the lot of the average Londoner. The flats are much too
expensive. We reveal the dark secrets buried
on this deserted island And how London s newest museum
is wowing the crowds. It was a first for design. It has
been growing and moving into other areas.
And that s it for this week s Inside Out London.
Don t forget, if you missed any of tonight s programme
and want to catch up on iPlayer, then just head to our website.
Thanks very much for watching. I ll see you again next week.
Hello, I'm Riz Lateef with your 90 second update.
The Government says national security means it won't confirm
if an unarmed nuclear missile veered off course during testing.
Mark Jordan investigates why the West Ham stadium deal continues to be a burden on taxpayers. Mike Dilger finds out how a high-speed rail link cutting across nature reserve could damage wildlife. And - we go behind the scenes in a celebration of Tower Bridge.