Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander has told East London Lines she does not like the idea of defence missiles being stationed on Blackheath for the Olympics, but accepts that the games need protecting from terrorist attack.
She says local public consultation is essential. Speaking to East London Lines reporter Delores William, the MP said:
“The idea of a terrorist attack on the Olympics is something that none of us wants to contemplate. It could happen though and all of us would expect the Government to have planned for it.
I cannot say I like the idea of missiles on Blackheath but if the military and security experts think that is necessary to have a last line of defence to deal with all eventualities, those defence systems will have to go somewhere.”
She revealed that she has met with “senior military personnel with responsibility for security during the Olympics and I have made it clear to them that they need to keep local residents informed of their plans.”
She is encouraging her constituents to make their feelings known: “I would encourage anyone who has concerns about these proposals to visit the MoD staff when they are in Blackheath on Friday. [May 4 2012] I understand staff will be available from 4-7pm at the proposed site of the missiles, next to the TA Centre.”
The Ministry of Defence confirmed today [April 30 2012] that surface-to-air missiles could be deployed at six sites across London during the Olympics and Blackheath is a proposed location.
One longstanding Blackheath resident said she certainly wanted more information from the military:
Blackheath Common and Oxleas Wood are potential locations for ground-based air defence systems should the Government decide to deploy them during the Games.
Heidi Alexander said the MOD had made it clear to her that no final decision has been taken about the missile deployment, “but a decision will be made in the next month or so.”