Olympics-Row rages over defence missiles at Shooter's Hill
LONDON, March 13 |
LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) - A British lawmaker has hit out at defence ministry plans to install surface-to-air missiles in his constituency during the Olympics, saying it was appalling sites like Shooter's Hill had been selected without consultation.
Britain announced in December it would consider installing missiles to protect London's Olympic Park against airborne attack as part of security measures for this summer's Games.
However, lawmaker (MP) Clive Efford said he was angry there had been no discussion about the Ministry of Defence's (MoD) plans to place these at Shooter's Hill in the area of southeast London he represents.
"I think it's an appalling way to have handled this issue," he told Reuters on Tuesday.
He said he understood six sites had been selected across London to provide a missile defence shield around the Olympic Park, based in Stratford in east London.
He said he had been sent a letter notifying him of the plans for Oxleas Wood near Shooter's Hill but without giving any details about the type of installation or how much disruption it would cause.
The area was also a site of special scientific interest, he added.
"I'm not saying this is the wrong location, I'm a big supporter of the Olympics and I understand that security is a major concern. But there are proper ways to go about this," Efford said, adding he had written to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond to demand answers.
The missile sites will be set up before the Olympics start on July 27 and will remain cordoned off until the end of the Paralympics on Sept. 9.
The MoD said the sites for the missiles, which have been deployed at previous Games, had been selected on military advice, and MPs had been offered full briefings.
A spokesman said a final decision on whether to install the ground-based air defences had not yet been taken.
"It's very much a last line of defence and more of a deterrent than anything they anticipate having to use," Efford said the MoD had told him. (Editing by Sonia Oxley)
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