Work begins to create parkland at London's Olympic site

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Work has begun at London's Olympics site to create the largest urban park in the UK for more than a century.

River banks across the 250-acre development will be covered with 300,000 wetland plants.

And there will be 4,000 new semi-mature trees in time for the Games in 2012.

The project would be "the centrepiece" of the Olympic Park in Stratford and part of its "long-term transformation", said John Armitt, chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

A large wetland bowl is being created in the north of the Olympic Park, formerly a 100-year-old landfill site, where people can watch events on big screens.

The landscaping project was launched by figures including TV gardener Charlie Dimmock and Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards.

The sport and Olympic minister, Hugh Robertson, who was also present, said the parklands would be "a fantastic addition to the Olympic Park", providing "relaxed surroundings" for spectators.

"After the Games, this former industrial wasteland will be a wonderful community facility where people inspired by the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be able to go to play sport," he added.

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