Residents of a tower block in East London yesterday lost their High Court case to prevent the Ministry of Defence (MoD) locating Surface-to-Air (SAM) missiles on the roof of their building during the London Olympic Games.
The residents of Fred Wigg Tower in Leytonstone claimed that proposals to site the missiles on their block were in breach of their human rights and would make them a target for terrorism.
Lawyers acting on their behalf also argued that the MoD had acted improperly in failing to consult residents about the plans.
The MoD argued in the High Court that the plans were legitimate and a proportionate response to a perceived threat, adding that they did not pose any risk to the residents housed underneath.
The judge in the case, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, agreed saying that residents were under a misapprehension about the equipment being installed and the risks it may pose them. He accepted the MoD's submission that a tower block was the only place these missiles could be installed and that many sites had been considered for their suitability.
The MoD disputed the fact that they had not consulted the residents, as they had embarked on a process of voluntary engagement with residents to explain the situation. The judge described this process as 'immaculate' and beyond reproach.
Responding to the applicants' request for a judicial review of the decision, the judge said: "The law and the facts militate against the claim for judicial review."
"In my judgment the MoD's voluntary engagement with the community and residents in this matter were immaculate," he added.
Following the ruling the MoD will commence the installation of the missiles, which will be completed in the next week in time for the start of the games at the end of the month. Lawyers representing the residents are expected to appeal the decision this morning.
Residents fear that siting the missiles on the tower block could make it a target for terrorism; however, the judge believed that such fears were unfounded.
"The MoD, intelligence agencies and the Metropolitan Police do not consider there is any credible threat to the Fred Wigg Tower from terrorism," said David Forsdick who appeared for the MoD.