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Eltham MP Clive Efford blasts Olympics missile plans for Blackheath and Oxleas Wood
PLANS to blast terrorists out of the sky above Greenwich during the Olympics have been attacked by an MP who says he was not consulted.
The Ministry of Defence is proposing placing batteries of surface to air missiles near Oxleas Wood cafe in Shooters Hill and on Blackheath during the Games. Some of the equipment was brought in last week as part of site evaluations.
But Eltham MP Clive Efford is furious that he was not warned, and is particularly concerned about Oxleas, a vast area of protected woodland and home to rare plant species including the corky-fruited water dropwort.
He said: "Many of the plants in and around the woodland only thrive in soil that's been there for centuries."
Mr Efford said: "My main beef is I've not been consulted about this prior to it happening. I'm not opposed in principle to ensuring we've got proper security arrangements for the Olympics."
The MP, who is writing to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, said another major concern was the missiles' short range - just 10 miles.
He said: "They'd only be a last line of defence but the range suggests whatever they shoot down is likely to come down in a densely populated area."
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the defence systems would be used alongside jets and helicopters to protect the skies above London.
He said: "Based on military advice we have identified a number of sites and, alongside colleagues from the Metropolitan Police, are talking to local authorities and relevant landowners to help minimise the impact of any temporary deployments.
"As part of our ongoing planning, we can confirm site evaluations have taken place. However, no final decision on whether or not to deploy ground based air defence systems for the Games has been taken."