Bloomberg News

London Judge Throws Out Bid to Stop Olympic Missiles on Rooftops

July 10, 2012

A U.K. judge rejected an attempt by residents of a London apartment complex to block a ground-to-air missile system being installed on the roof of their London building during the Olympic games.

Judge Charles Haddon-Cave in London said that protecting “the Olympic park from terrorist attacks” outweighed the concerns of the local residents who fear that the missiles will make their building a target.

An air defense plan put together by the British government to defend London during the Olympics includes a series of ground-based missile sites across the city and two high-velocity missile sites overlooking the Olympic park as a “last line of defense.”

U.K. military and civil authorities are increasing efforts to prevent a terrorist attack during the 16-day Olympic games, which start in London July 27. Police have arrested 14 people over the last week throughout the country in two separate counter-terrorism probes.

The residents of the building in the Leytonstone area of east London argued the missiles violated their human rights and they were never consulted about the installation.

“It is the unprecedented siting of a military base or missile site in peace time on English soil that brings us to this court,” Marc Willers, a lawyer for the residents, said yesterday. “The deployment of the missile system gives rise to the fear that the tower itself might be the target of a terrorist attack.”

The residents can renew the application for a review at the U.K. appeal court. David Forsdick, a lawyer for the government, said the residents must make an appeal quickly to avoid interfering with the installation of the missiles.

The case is The Queen on the application of Harrow Community Support Ltd. v. The Secretary of State for Defence, High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, CO/6767/2012

To contact the reporters on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at jhodges17@bloomberg.net; Sofia Horta e Costa in London at shortaecosta@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net


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