London 2012 Olympic defence missiles confirmed on William Girling reservoir in Enfield

Surface-to-air defence systems will be deployed at an Enfield reservoir during the Olympic Games, the Government has confirmed.

Rapier missiles will be placed at the William Girling Reservoir on the eastern border of the borough as well as at six other sites in the capital, despite a potential legal challenge from east London residents who do not want the systems pitched on the roof of their tower block home.

The ground-based air defence systems will be in place by mid-July.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “Ground-based air defence systems will form just one part of a comprehensive, multi-layered air security plan which, I believe, will provide both reassurance and a powerful deterrent.”

The Government, based on military advice, has now given the go-ahead for the ground-based air defence systems, which will include both Rapier and High Velocity Missile systems.

The main aim is to protect the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, and its surrounding area from would-be attacks from the air.

High Velocity Missiles will be based at the Lexington Building in Tower Hamlets and the Fred Wigg Tower in Waltham Forest, both in east London. Rapiers will be set on Blackheath Common and at Oxleas Meadow, Shooters Hill, both in south east London.

To the east there will be a Rapier based at Barn Hill and one at Netherhouse Farm in Epping Forest, and another at the William Girling Reservoir.

The mix of capabilities, including radar and detection equipment as well as weapons, should be both a powerful deterrent and protection device, according to the Government. Similar systems have been deployed at all recent Olympic Games.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Our focus is to deliver an Olympic and Paralympic Games that London, the UK and the world can enjoy. The Games should be a peaceful celebration of sporting achievement and cultural celebration.

“But this is the biggest sporting event in the world, and with that comes the huge responsibility to deliver it safely and securely. We are working to a robust safety and security strategy and we will leave nothing to chance.”

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