Thousands of Olympic athletes and officials are to begin arriving in London, as questions remain about recruitment of security staff.
Preparations for London 2012 are intensifying with the opening ceremony just 11 days away.
The first priority “Games Lane” has begun operation on the M4 and the Olympic drug testing lab starts work.
Meanwhile, the chairman of G4S has refused to express support for his chief executive over the guards fiasco.
Heathrow Airport is standing by to process as many as 120,000 passengers on Monday, about 10,000 more than would be normal for this time of year.
Preparations for London 2012 are intensifying with the opening ceremony just 11 days away
Immigration Minister Damian Green has said that the UK Border Force would be in full “Olympic mode” as of Sunday and he promised all immigration desks at Heathrow would be manned at peak times.
Volunteers will be directing athletes to the coaches and trains that will take many of them to the Olympic Village in Stratford, east London.
The village will house 16,000 athletes and officials at its peak.
Those that travel by road will benefit from the first of the Games Lanes which at busy times will operate between Junction 3 and Junction 2 of the M4 motorway towards London.
The motorway has just reopened following emergency repairs on a damaged flyover near Junction 2.
The rest of the 30 miles of dedicated lanes in the Olympic Route Network (ORN) will be operational by the middle of next week, with heavy fines for those who misuse them.
All road users will be able to go into the lanes when they are not in use overnight.
Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said the authorities had plans to lift the restrictions if they were causing gridlock.
Kevin Delaney, from the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said the lanes could exacerbate traffic problems in the capital.
“If anything goes wrong with the central and inner London transport network, we tend to get a wholly disproportionate amount of congestion – and so the Games lanes themselves will actually impose serious constraints on this already stretched network,” he said.
The biggest anti-doping operation in the history of the Olympics also begins on Monday.
Drug testers are expecting to take the first of about 6,000 samples for testing at the London 2012 laboratory.
Half of the competitors will be tested including every medallist at the Olympics and Paralympics.
Ahead of the Games G4S chief executive Nick Buckles has been criticized over the private security firm’s failure to recruit enough security guards for the Olympics, after it emerged last Wednesday that 3,500 troops were being drafted in to plug gaps in staff provision.
G4S chairman John Connolly told the Financial Times: “We don’t want to do anything that smacks of short-term expediency, but it would be right to consider whether any members of the senior team are best placed to take the company forward.”
This comes after Nick Buckles told the Sunday Telegraph he plans to stay to help deliver the contract but that he had considered quitting over the issue.
Nick Buckles is due to appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday to answers MPs’ questions after he apologized on Saturday and said then that he only began to know things were going wrong “eight or nine days ago”.
The Commons Public Accounts Committee has summoned G4S, two government departments and Games organizer LOCOG to appear before it in September.
London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said security for the Olympics had not been compromised by the failure of G4S to recruit enough security staff.
G4S said it stood to lose up to £50 million ($80 million) on the contract, worth a total of about £280 million ($445 million), after being unable to provide the 10,000 staff it had been contracted to deliver.
The biggest McDonald’s restaurant on the planet has been built in London, right in the middle of the Olympic park.
The vast two-storey restaurant will serve up to 1,200 customers an hour and sell $5 million of fast food during Olympic Games.
At 3,000 sq ft the building, next to the Olympic Stadium, is bigger than the current largest McDonald’s, in Moscow.
The Russian restaurant will regain its title on September 9, however, when the London branch is bulldozed after the Paralympics closing ceremony.
Yesterday McDonald’s gave the media a preview of its flagship store, which includes 20 till points and 1,500 seats.
It is one of four branches in the park, including two open to the public, one for the athletes and officials in the Olympic Village and one at the press centre.
Altogether they will serve 1.75 million meals in 29 days, with Britons accounting for an estimated 85% of customers.
The biggest McDonald’s restaurant on the planet has been built in London, right in the middle of the Olympic park
The main restaurant will offer some of the best views across the Olympic Park from its first-floor balcony, which can seat 150 customers.
It will be staffed by 500 of its top-performing employees from 85,000 in the UK, with 200 on a shift at any one time.
The global sponsor has been linked to the Olympics since 1968, when the company airlifted hamburgers to US athletes in Grenoble, France, after it was reported they were missing McDonald’s food.
But McDonald’s has been criticized for promoting the consumption of fast food at a time when people should be celebrating sports participation and healthy living.
It is estimated one in ten meals eaten at Olympic Games venues will be from McDonald’s.
Last week, members of the London Assembly said firms which sold junk food should not be linked to the Olympic Games. Cadbury and Coca-Cola are also sponsors.
Jenny Jones, a Green Party assembly member, said: “London won the right to host the 2012 Games with the promise to deliver a legacy of more active, healthier children across the world.
“Yet the same International Olympic Committee that awarded the Games to London persists in maintaining sponsorship deals with the purveyors of high calorie junk that contributes to the threat of an obesity epidemic.
“The advertising of foods high in fat, salt and sugar is already restricted on children’s television.
“These Games will subvert those regulations by providing a glut of sponsored messages for high calorie food and drink that are at odds with the Olympian athletic ideal.”
The restaurant will be McDonald’s first sustainable outlet and 75% of the building and fittings will be recycled or reused.
It is part of London 2012’s bid to be “the greenest Games ever”.
While the restaurants serve fast food to the hungry public, McDonald’s executives will be enjoying some of the top events from their corporate seats.
Yesterday, the firm admitted that global chief executive Jim Skinner and UK chief executive Jill McDonald, along with dozens of others, will enjoy corporate tickets to events such as the opening and closing ceremonies, athletics and swimming.
The restaurant will start trading on July 28, one day after the opening ceremony.
It will not open for the ceremony itself, which many VIP guests and heads of state are expected to attend, for “security reasons”.
Zara Phillips, Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter, will not only look the part at the upcoming London Olympic Games, she will be living like her fellow competitors, too.
Zara Phillips, Princess Anne’s daughter, is to be given no special treatment, it has emerged, staying in the Olympic village and sharing the same security and transport as other athletes.
On Monday, Zara Phillips, 31, told of her excitement at the prospect of rubbing shoulders with the likes of Usain Bolt during her stay.
Zara Phillips, who missed out on two previous Olympics due to injuries to her horse, promised to give her “best performance” in front of a home crowd in London.
Zara Phillips, Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter, will not only look the part at the upcoming London Olympic Games, she will be living like her fellow competitors, too
She said: “Obviously it will be great to be part of the Olympics and get the atmosphere and the buzz of being a part of it.
“A lot of the time, the equestrian is quite far out so they’ve made a really big effort this time to try and have us part of the Olympics and benefit from that.”
Zara Phillips, who will ride as part of the five-strong eventing team at Greenwich Park, around six miles from the main Olympic park, said Her Majesty had been delighted when she told her that she had made the Olympic team.
The former sports personality of the year missed out on Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 after her then horse, Toytown, suffered late injuries.
“I’m keeping my fingers crossed because we’ve still got a few weeks to go and we all know what horses are like,” she said.
Equestrian performance director Will Connell said the eventing team would stay in the Olympic village – and was adamant their royal member would be well protected by the security put in place by Olympics organizers.
“It’s not an issue,” he said.