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Olympic roof missiles: residents to launch legal action

28th June 2012

Locals seek injunction to stop surface-to-air missiles being stationed on top of their tower block during London 2012

A group of residents are today expected to launch legal proceedings against proposals to station surface-to-air missiles on the roof of their tower block during the Olympics.

Solicitors acting for the local authority tenants said they are mounting a challenge against Ministry of Defence plans to potentially place the ground-based air defence system on top of the Fred Wigg Tower in Leytonstone, east London.

Defence officials are considering deploying the weapons across six sites in the capital if there is a security scare during the Games. The move is yet to be confirmed.

Howe & Co Solicitors said lawyers would be attending the High Court later today to issue proceedings on behalf of Harrow Community Support on the grounds that residents were not consulted about the plans.

Tenants also claim that no assessment was carried out under the Equality Act to comply with the Ministry of Defence’s public sector equality duty and say siting missiles above their heads is a breach of their human rights.

The group is seeking an injunction to stop missiles being placed on the roof of the tower, as well as a court order seeking a lawful consultation process involving the residents, Howe & Co said.

Martin Howe, senior partner at Howe & Co, said: “It is incredible that the MoD think it acceptable to present women, children and men living in a block of flats in a densely populated residential area of east London with the fait accompli of having a live high explosive missile salvo above their heads whilst they go about their daily chores and whilst they sleep at night.

“Security of the Olympics is, of course, extremely important but could the MoD not find any other way of protecting the Olympic village than by putting the lives of hundreds of innocent council tenants at risk by turning their homes into a military battlefield position?”

“The MoD has had seven years to work out its security plans and it needs to rethink this issue swiftly.”

The Lexington Building in Tower Hamlets; Blackheath Common and Oxleas Wood, both in south-east London; William Girling Reservoir in the Lea Valley reservoir chain in Enfield; and Barn Hill at Netherhouse Farm in Epping Forest have all been considered as other potential locations for ground-based air defence systems, if the Government decides to deploy them during the Games.


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