London 2012 Olympics: Missiles could be put on top of Bow flats as terror defence

11:38 29 April 2012

A residential block of flats in Bow, east London, could have soldier and surface-to-air missiles stationed on its roof during the Olympics, it has been revealed.

The move is to ward off any airborne terror threats during the Games.

But residents in the private gated flats have reacted with shock and suspicion after receiving a leaflet warning them that a team of 10 soldiers and police will be stationed at the building - home to 700 people.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) leaflet says the missiles will only be fired as a last resort, said resident Brian Whelan, a journalist.

He said: “They are going to have a test run next week, putting high-velocity missiles on the roof just above our apartment and on the back of it they’re stationing police and military in the tower of the building for two months.

“It’s a private, gated community with an old watch tower which is now a lift shaft.

“We have an MoD leaflet saying the building is the only suitable place in the area.

“It says there will be 10 officers plus police present 24/7.

“I’m not sure if they are going to live in the building.

“We have a gym and a pool and people have seen them there so it makes you think it will be some sort of Army base - it’s not ideal.”

He said the property management company put up posters and gave out the leaflets yesterday.

“The general tone of it all was ‘Great news, aren’t we lucky’, but that’s not normal, it’s not something people should have put on them.

“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.”

Mr Whelan said the leaflet poses a series of questions residents might ask, such as: “Will this make me a target for terrorists?”

The 28-year-old said: “But the answer on it is that we will be safer with it here.

“From the few people I’ve spoken to, and the security we have here, they’re not happy about it. I don’t think it needs to be here at all.

“I don’t see how the decision was made or who made it. Even if it was going to be forced through you would think they would hold a meeting and get rid of people’s fears.”

It was unclear who was responsible for liaising with the residents, but it is understood the MoD and the Met Police were working together with community groups over the issue.

It was also unclear if the building’s owners would be paid to have the missiles stationed on the roof - or whether the decision was made under the Emergency Powers Act.

An MoD spokesman 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, 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 systems for the Games has been taken.”

Related articles

Latest Stories

24 minutes ago
Fusilier Lee Rigbywas killed whilst off duty near Woolwich Barracks by Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo in May 2013  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

The father of Drummer Lee Rigby, the soldier who was brutally murdered in Woolwich last year, has said it is ‘disgusting’ that his son’s killers recived £200,000 from the state to pay for their legal costs.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:25
Moorgate station was evacuated this evening after a 'security alert' causing delays on the Tube network (Photo by Sion Touhig/Getty Images)

There are severe delays on the Tube in central London tonight after a ‘security alert’ shut Moorgate Underground station with passengers evacuated and trains stopped in tunnels.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:39
Ruislip was hit with torrential rain overnight leaving the town centre badly flooded this morning (Picture: Twitter/@souvikdash)

The Monday morning commute is not exactly most people’s idea of a good time but it was made a lot worse for those in west London this morning after flash flooding.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

Test your London musical knowledge with our album quiz (Images via Getty)

Does your music knowledge stretch from The Rolling Stones to Rudimental, Spandau Ballet to Siouxsie and the Banshees? If so then test it out with our London bands quiz:

Read more
How much do you really know about QPR legends like Les Ferdinand? Picture: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

Test your knowledge of QPR’s greatest players with our fantastic legends quiz.

Read more
Quiz-1

Do you know your Lock Stock from your Long Good Friday, Sliding Doors from Shakespeare in Love?

Read more