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Nick Higham reports for BBC News
"Mr Blair came to put the Prime Minister's seal of approval on a project he so desperately wants to succeed"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 14 December, 1999, 13:16 GMT
Dome will be ready - Blair

"Once people see it, they will flood to visit it"


With just days to go before New Year's Eve, Prime Minister Tony Blair has insisted the 758m Millennium Dome will be completed on time.

Into 2000
Although work on the dome is now continuing around the clock, Mr Blair said: "The dome is on budget and on time and not a penny of taxpayers' money has been spent on it.

"Once people see it, they will flood to visit it and be part of a great British achievement."

Speaking during a tour of the dome in Greenwich the prime minister called it an "incredible spectacle".

After viewing the vast 90-foot-high sculptured figures of the dome's Body Zone, on of the key areas still not ready, the prime minister said it would be "a success because it deserves to be a success".

The prime minister also unveiled the final 235 additions to the list of Millennium Products being complied by the Design Council.

The 1,000 strong list is a showcase of the best of British design and innovation and includes such diverse creations as the BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs programme and the Eurostar trains.

Looking at the spectacle of the dome, the focal point for the UK's millennium celebrations, Mr Blair said: "I defy anyone who sets foot in the dome not to be awed by its sheer scale, variety or range of attractions."

Creating jobs and tourism

Mr Blair also said the dome would increase tourism, boost jobs and serve as a model for future urban redevelopment projects.


Tony Blair: The dome is a triumph of excellence over mediocrity
The dome represented, he said, "a triumph of confidence over cynicism, boldness over blandness, excellence over mediocrity".

The dome, which is expected to attract at least 12 million visitors during its year-long exhibition, will open its doors to the fee-paying public at noon on New Year's Day.

The minister responsible for the dome, Lord Falconer said it has "already justified its very existence" by creating jobs and may attract an estimated 1bn from foreign visitors next year.

Best of British

Turning to the additions to the list of Millennium Products the prime minister described them as "the very best of British innovation, creativity and design".


Walking With Dinosaurs has been included in the exhibition
He told the companies that produced the chosen items: "Congratulations to all of you on your imagination, your ingenuity and inspiration.

"Our future success depends on the qualities you, your product and your company embody."

Millennium innovations

Other inclusions in the final batch of products are:

  • A supermarket trolley made of recyclable plastic

  • A luminous fishnet which will improve catch levels at night

  • Adaptive Spectacles which can be adjusted to fit any eyesight without needing a new prescription

  • The Scottish exhibition and conference centre in Glasgow

  • The new Peckham Library in south London

  • Notley Green primary school in Essex which has an environmentally friendly grass roof
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See also:
06 Sep 99 |  Sci/Tech
Millennium mix of innovation

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