Missiles stationed on roof of residential flats during Olympics
In an unusual move by the British Ministry of Defence, surface-to-air missiles are being considered to be placed on the roofs of residential flats during the Olympics.
Residents in a private building of gated flats in Bow, east London, were greeted with a leaflet breaking news of the installation of missiles guarded by a team of ten soldiers with the support of police during the rehearsal and the Games.
According to the leaflet, the Air defence system poses no hazard risks to the residents and will only be used as a last resort. It reads: “The system will be used to monitor the airspace and will only be authorised for active use following specific orders from the highest levels of Government in response to a confirmed and extreme security threat.”
Brian Whelan, a 28-year-old journalist and a resident of the building was generally unhappy about the situation. He said the property management company handed out leaflets and put posters trying to convince the residents of their luck.
But Whelan believes the missile is unsuitable. He said: “I’ve looked these (the missiles) up and I don’t think they’re the kind of thing you can fire over a highly-populated area like Tower Hamlets: think of the debris! It says the missiles will only be used as a last resort. It’s totally unsuitable.”
It is unclear who was responsible for informing the residents of such a bold decision but it is understood the MoD and the Metropolitan police were working together with community groups over the issue. The residents are also unaware whether the building’s owners would make a profit out of the missile station or whether the decision was made under the Emergency Power Act.
A spokesman for MoD said: “As announced before Christmas, ground-based air defence systems could be deployed as part of a multi-layered air security plan for the Olympics, including fast jets and helicopters, which will protect the skies over London during the Games.
“Based on military advice we have identified a number of sites, and alongside colleagues from the Metropolitan Police, we are talking to local authorities and relevant landowners to help minimise the impact of any temporary deployments.
“As part of our ongoing planning, we can confirm site evaluations have taken place.
“However no final decision on whether or not to deploy ground-based air defence system for the Games has been taken.”