London residents will later today ask the High Court to block the proposal to place surface to air missiles on their roof. The residents of Fred Wigg Tower in east London are seeking judicial review and an injunction.
According to Martin Howe, the tenants' lawyer, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is in breach of Article 8 and Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protect an individual's right to private life and peaceful enjoyment of their home. The tenants are also expected to argue that they have not been consulted and that the MoD failed to conduct an equality impact assessment.
Mr Howe told the BBC:
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 whilst they go about their daily chores and whilst 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.
Chris Nineham, a spokesman for campaign group Stop the Olympic Missiles, told the London Evening Standard that the proposed missile sites showed:
real contempt for local people. There has been zero consultation. It’s irresponsible, it’s dangerous and it goes against the spirit of the Olympics.
Secretary of Defence, Philip Hammond told ITV News:
Whilst there is no reported threat to the London Olympics, the public expects that we put in place a range of measures aimed at ensuring the safety and security of this once-in-a-generation event. Ground-based air defence systems will form just one part of a comprehensive, multi-layered air security plan which, I believe, will provide both reassurance and a powerful deterrent.
The "range of measures" includes attack helicopters, the battleship HMS Ocean, and RAF Typhoon jets, as well as surface to air missiles.