3rd Jul 2012 5:37pm | By Rebecca Kent
Olympic security authorities are pushing ahead with plans to install missiles at locations around London, despite staunch opposition from residents.
The Ministry of Defence has confirmed it will site surface-to-air missiles at six locations around the capital, including two east London apartment rooftops, from mid July and right throughout the Olympics.
The number has been whittled down from 100, as originally planned, to the six best locations to defend Olympic Park in case of an airborne terrorist attack.
Also, on standby will be helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, moored in the Thames, and RAF Typhoon jets, which will be stationed at RAF Northolt. Also, Puma helicopters will sit at the Territorial Army centre in Ilford.
Defence secretary Philip Hammond described the measures as “just one part of a comprehensive, multi-layered security plan” and providing “both reassurance and a powerful deterrent”.
He added a majority of people supported the tough security plans.
“We have undertaken a wide programme of engagement with the communities affected, involving relevant local authorities, landowners, MPs, council leaders, and community meetings.
"These have shown that, while people understandably have questions and concerns which we have sought to answer, broadly speaking communities are supportive of our work."
This doesn’t apply to the residents of Fred Wigg Tower in Waltham Forest, and the Lexington Building in Tower Hamlets – both missile sites - who are to challenge the MoD’s plans in the High Court on July 9.
Resident Chris Nineham, 49, from Bow, said residents fear the missile location could make them a target.
“Sitting missiles on housing estates makes people feel a lot less secure,” he said.
" We think it’s very dangerous, it does not add to security and could lead to a major disaster.”
The London missile sites are:
Lexington Building, Tower Hamlets (high-velocity missile)
Fred Wigg Tower, Waltham Forest (high-velocity missile)
Blackheath Common, Blackheath (rapier system)
William Girling Reservoir, Enfield (rapier system)
Oxleas Meadow, Greenwich/Woolwich (rapier system)
Barn Hil, Epping Forest (rapier system)
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