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PRESS RELEASE – 12TH July 2012; FRED WIGG TOWER – MOD INSTALLING MISSILES TODAY – EARLY DAY MOTION LAID IN PARLIAMENT
Howe + Co solicitors are the lawyers acting for the residents’ association at the Fred Wigg Tower (FWT), Leyton, where the MOD is today installing a Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) High Velocity Missile (HVM) system.
Residents report that soldiers and armed police are currently on site installing HVMs on the roof of their homes.
The issue of the failings in Olympic Security is to be debated in the House of Commons today with the Home Secretary to make an urgent statement in the Commons.
Howe + Co met with local MP, John Cryer, immediately after the residents’ failed High Court challenge on Tuesday.
John Cryer has today laid down the following Early Day Motion (EDM) in parliament:
“That this House recognises the need to provide reasonable security for the Olympic Games but is concerned at the unprecedented decision of the Ministry of Defence, in peacetime and where no emergency has arisen, to station troops, armed police and Ground Based Air Defence missile systems on top of Fred Wigg Tower, a civilian residential block of flats, Leyton, without any consultation with the residents affected and without bringing the matter before this House for consideration by Members, despite the fact that seven years have passed since this country was awarded the Olympic Games; calls on the Ministry of Defence to examine urgently the possibility of building a temporary tower for the missile systems instead of such weapons and launch pads being sited over the heads of the ordinary men, women and children who have had no say in the decision or alternatively to provide proper security to protect the residents living in Fred Wigg Tower from potential terrorist attack and to provide financial assistance to concerned and worried residents who wish to move for the duration of the Olympic Games and Para-Olympic games.”
Martin Howe, the solicitor representing the residents at FWT, said:
“Missiles are being placed on the roof of Fred Wigg Tower today, without any regard for the safety concerns genuinely felt by the residents. The MOD never asked these ordinary British people for their permission to turn their homes into a missile launch base and never consulted with them over their fears that accidents may occur and about what will be done to protect them in the event of a terrorist attack on their homes.
These are not fanciful fears. Only a few months ago this council owned block was engulfed in flames. Disabled residents, children, men and women struggled to escape down smoke filled staircases in the dark of night. Astonishingly, we now know that the MOD will not be putting any security in place around Fred Wigg Tower. Any person, including a terrorist, can walk straight into Fred Wigg Tower and take the lift to the 17th floor where the missiles are stationed. Only at that point will they meet armed police guarding the soldiers. The lack of even basic perimeter and entrance security is frightening.”
Ministry of Defence defies Eastenders and Good Sense.
Press release 03/06/2012
The Ministry of Defence has defied local opinion and good sense in deciding to go ahead with the siting of ground to air missiles in residential areas in East London. Most local residents feel having ready-to-fire high explosives in their estates risks terrible accidents and that the actual use of ground to air missiles over the most densely populated areas of London would lead to disaster.
The MoD claim that there is little local opposition only underlines the fact that they have undertaken no serious consultation in the community. They have refused an invitation to come to a local public forum and ignored a 1,000 strong petition and a local demonstration.
The campaign continues. Residents in Leytonstone are going to the High Court to challenge the decision on Monday 9 July. There will be a protest outside the court from 9.30am.
For more information and interviews please contact
Chris Nineham 07930 536 519
Brian Whelan 07730 595 810
Our ‘No Missiles in Our Communities’ demonstration received a huge amount of news coverage yesterday. Here’s a round-up of some of it:
ITV News - Anti Olympic missile protest in East London
Please post any more links of news reports on the event in the comments section below.
A member of the campaign has received this letter from Nick Harvey at the Ministry of Defence about the siting of missiles on residential rooftops in East London.
The MoD believe that ‘it would be irresponsible for it [Ground Based Air Defence Systems] not to be considered for this period’.
Other reasoning used is that deployment of missiles would be ‘in keeping with all other recent Olympic Olympics where similar air defence systems have been deployed’.
Today our campaign was mentioned by Hugh Muir, editor of the Guardian Diaries:
The Olympics are coming, and so, for a group of east London residents, are the missile batteries being sited on housing estates to protect the greatest show on earth. Some, understandably, recoil from the idea of living with munitions, even for this short period. Just a small number of refuseniks, defence secretary Philip Hammond told the Commons. But you weren’t quite being straight with the house, were you Phil. Yesterday Tower Hamlets residents delivered a petition to the MoD signed by well over a thousand people – a fair proportion of those directly affected. As to the extent of public “engagement” about which he assured MPs, the question is: where is it? On Saturday, there will be a local demonstration against the missiles too. They’re not against the Olympics in principle. But there’s weaponry enough in east London already.