Residents of an East London tower block who are opposed to having a missile battery placed on their roof during the Olympics have lodged a challenge in the courts, according to the London Evening Standard.
With only a few weeks left until the opening of the Games, solicitors acting for the tenants expect to be in front of a High Court judge very quickly.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is reportedly planning to deploy missile batteries in six sites throughout the capital to guard against potential terrorist attacks.
Martin Howe, a solicitor acting for the residents, says they weren’t consulted about the MoD’s intentions: “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 while they go about their daily chores and while 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 tenants claim no assessment under the Equality Act was carried out, which is necessary to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty and believe having missiles placed above their heads is a breach of human rights.
The residents are applying for an injunction to stop the MoD placing missiles on the tower, and are seeking a court order for an inclusive consultation.
Residents of an estate in Bow, also the prospective site of a missile battery, are threatening to form a human barricade to stop the missiles from being installed.
This is a delicate situation; nobody wants to see any tragic September 11 type attacks during this summer’s Olympics and these missiles would no doubt only be used in extreme situations. However it does seem a little heavy handed.
Perhaps the MoD – and other government departments – would be better off concentrating their efforts on stopping any potential hijackings in the first place rather than trying to shoot them down over populated London areas after the event.