London 2012: Olympic missile tenants in terrorist fear
2012-07-09 0:00

By Danny Shaw | BBCNews

Council tenants have argued a plan to place surface-to-air missiles on their tower block during the Olympics could make them a terrorism target.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) rejected the claim, saying missile deployment as part of security measures for the Games was legitimate and proportionate.

Residents of Fred Wigg Tower in Leytonstone, east London, have applied for permission for a judicial review at the High Court.

A judgement is expected on Tuesday.

Top-level decision

The residents’ barrister, Marc Willers, said their block could become the "focus of a terrorist attack" to make an "evil statement".

Mr Willers told Mr Justice Haddon-Cave: "It is the unprecedented siting of a military base or missile site in peace time on English soil that brings us to this court."

Of the residents, he said: "They have a fully justified fear that installation or deployment of the missile system on the roof of the Fred Wigg Tower gives rise to the additional risk that the tower itself may become the focus of a terrorist attack.

"That fear is not just genuine and legitimate but justified given the nature of the forthcoming occasion - the Olympic Games - and given the nature of the deployment and the current threat level, which is said to be substantial."

Mr Willers filed documents to the court calling for the residents to be moved out of their homes and compensated during the Olympics if the missiles are set up.

He suggested building a tower or gantry on Wanstead Flats to house the missiles.

Mr Willers also warned that part of the missile falls away when fired, claiming it could drop on to a passer-by or set a building on fire.

The MoD plans to deploy either Rapier or high-velocity missiles at six sites as part of security measures for the London Games.

David Forsdick, appearing on behalf of the MoD, said the decision over where to position the missiles was taken at the "highest levels after rigorous scrutiny".

He said it was signed off by the prime minister, deputy prime minister, home secretary and defence secretary in "defence of the realm".

Map showing the locations of the six sites that will have surface-to-air missiles


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