Londoners' fury at MoD plans to put Olympic missiles on roofs

 

Missile batteries will be placed on the top of residential flats in east London over the coming days as Britain's armed forces prepare to conduct a major trial of their Olympic defence systems.

Defence officials said yesterday that they were in the process of consulting with residents at a number of different locations across the capital as it emerged that a cluster of high-velocity-missiles (HVM) would be placed on the roof on a block of flats containing more than 700 people.

The missiles, which travel three times faster than the speed of sound within 400 metres of leaving their launchers, are part of an intricate network of surface to air missiles which would be used as a last resort to shoot down a kamikaze-style airborne attack on any Olympic venues.

The military is planning to hold a six- day trial of its ground-based air defence system for the Olympics starting on Wednesday. The missiles are part of a London-wide security net built to stop any aerial attack on the Games and will also include the deployment of Typhoon fighter jets and missile batteries launched from warships in the North Sea. Defence chiefs have already begun testing larger Rapier missile batteries in Blackheath and Shooter's Hill, two popular green spaces in south east London.

Rapier missiles have been Britain's standard surface-to-air missile since the 1970s and can be launched from the back of moveable vehicles.

HVM missiles are much more portable but have a shorter range and require the operator to have an eyes-on view of the aircraft they are trying to destroy. The Ministry of Defence insists that no final decisions have been taken yet on which buildings will be armed with which missile systems and that any use of such weapons would pose no risk to locals.

But residents are concerned about their homes being turned into a weapon platform and have complained that the extent of the MoD's consultations over the missiles has been little more than posting leaflets through their door.

Brian Whelan, a journalist and resident of Lexington Building in Bow, east London, said locals received leaflets over the weekend saying that a water tower in their apartment complex had been chosen to host an HVM missile battery. The missiles would be operated by 10 soldiers who would themselves be guarded by police 24 hours a day.

"The general tone of [the leaflet] was: 'Great news, aren't we lucky', but that's not normal, it's not something people should have put on them," Mr Whelan 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," the journalist added.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Service Engineer - Vehicles

£25000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's premier supplie...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate