Residential Olympic missiles?

May 23, 2012, 9:56 AM GMT+0

British public split over placing missiles on residential buildings around London 2012 Olympic park

The British public is torn over whether it is appropriate for surface-to-air missiles to be placed on top of residential buildings as a security measure for this summer's London Olympics, with around two in five saying yes to using residential buildings and another two in five saying no.

  • 40% say the missiles should be placed on residential buildings
  • 41% say they should not be placed on residential buildings
  • 19% don’t know whether it's OK for missiles should be placed on residential buildings or not

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the missiles will form part of what is being called a ‘layered’ defence system to protect Olympic venues from potential terrorist attacks during the Games, which also reportedly involves the deployment of Royal Navy ships, RAF helicopters and jets.

Security measure or hazardous practice?

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence has said "The safety of the Games is paramount and working alongside the police, the MoD has conducted a broad range of community engagement in those areas where ground-based air defence may be sited."

The security plan has alarmed local residents who claim they are uncomfortable with the use of their homes as a missile base. East London resident Brian Whelan told the Telegraph that he cannot imagine a situation where the missiles could be safely deployed in Tower Hamlets.

Whelan and other residents of homes earmarked as launch sites have contacted solicitors to see if they could block the missile plans."I appreciate they have to protect the Olympics but I am not convinced that it is acceptable,” he commented.

However, a Ministry of Defence spokesman sought to play down safety concerns. “We want to cause as little disruption to people going about their everyday business as possible," he said. "But at the same time, the public expects that we take all those steps necessary to protect them at what will be a time of national pride and celebration."

See the survey details and full results here (page 15)