1. ITV Report

Paralympians welcomed to London

The first big rush of Paralympic athletes flew into Heathrow today to a warm welcome.

"I have been very well looked after and everyone is smiling," said SKUD 18 yachting competitor Jan Apel, 61, from Auckland, New Zealand.

British Airways said today would be its busiest day for Paralympic arrivals at Heathrow.

BA is flying in Paralympic teams from 25 countries including ParalympicsGB who are thought to be arriving at Heathrow next week from their training camps abroad.

Along with the athletes, BA is also transporting around 300 wheelchairs and sporting equipment such as firearms, weapon bags, physiotherapist cases, bike boxes, tandem bikes, bow and arrows and hand cycles.

It has been a mammoth operation that we have been planning and preparing for since the 2008 Beijing Games, when we flew Team GB and ParalympicGB home on a gold nose aircraft.

It is a privilege to fly thousands of athletes, their coaching teams and their sporting equipment into London for the Paralympic Games and follows on from the great service we delivered for the Olympic Games."

– Andy Lord, BA operations director

Today also sees the first of the Paralympic Games lanes coming into force. The first Paralympic Games lane is between junctions 3 and 2 on the M4 which takes traffic from Heathrow into central London.

It will be in operation each day as needed from 5am to 10pm, with "ordinary" traffic able to use it outside these times.

The M4 lane is part of a much smaller Games lane operation than for the main Olympics with just 8.7 miles of special lanes for the Paralympics which start next Wednesday 29th August and end on September 9th.

On most days, the number of people travelling to the Olympic Park will be as many as travelled there during the Olympics, with up to 215,000 spectators expected.