THE High Court refused residents’ permission to challenge government plans to site missiles on the roof of their block of flats today dismissing the need for them to be consulted first and that fears of an attack were unjustified.
Residents at Fred Wigg Tower, in Leytonstone, East London, brought the action claiming the move would infringe their right to a private life and peaceful enjoyment of their home under the Human Rights Act.
They also expressed fear the tower block could become a target for a terrorist attack itself and that the government should have consulted them first.
The missiles are expected to be installed on Friday for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics operated by ten soldiers and guarded by armed police officers 24 hours-a-day.
The residents’ barrister, Mr Willers, suggested to the court a temporary gantry could be built nearby to site the missiles after the government claimed Fred Wigg Tower was the only viable location, but the Judge said this was inconceivable.
However, after the hearing Martin Howe, the claimants’ solicitor, said he had been contacted by a scaffolding firm that could build one within two days.
Willers also requested that if the claim were to be dismissed then those in fear of the installation should be temporary relocated and compensated for the inconvenience.
But Mr Justice Haddon-Cave ruled that any fears the residents had were a perception and not a reality so this was unnecessary.
Outside the court following the verdict David Enright, part of the claimants’ team, said: “This case was brought by very ordinary British people living in a council block of flats in east London. Without notice and without ever being asked a missile system was to be put on the roofs of their homes; an unprecedented step in peace time or a time where there’s no national emergency.
“The clear implication of today’s judgment is that the Ministry of Defence now has the power to militarise the private homes of anyone in Britain as long as they can demonstrate that there is in their view a matter of national security at play. They do not need to ask you, they do not need to consult you, but can take over your home, put a missile on your roof, put a tank on your lawn or soldiers in your front living room. That’s a fact.”
Mr Forsdick, representing the MOD, assured the court that those responsible for national security were clear there was no credible threat to the residents from an attack and in fact there was no threat to the Olympics as a whole.
On this basis, he said, there was no reason to relocate residents and that any fears were unjustified, could not be substantiated and so were not the states responsibility.
The claimants said they will consider whether to appeal.