The Ministry of Defense are holding a Community Engagement Day for those who wish to express or address their concerns about the anti-aircraft missiles likely to be based in Oxleas Wood.

It will be on the 4th May. 4-6pm.

Please comment here if you attended, and let us know how it went.

Tracy Jensen organiser of the ‘No missile in Oxleas Wood!‘ Facebook page, brought this to our attention.

Visit and support her here;
https://www.facebook.com/groups/102109873254915/

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The MOD recently wrote to her as follows;

Operations Directorate
Ministry of Defence
Main Building
Level 4 Zone K
Whitehall
London SW1A 2HB
United Kingdom

Our Ref:  TO00738/2012

 27 April 2012

Dear Dr Jensen,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 23 March 2012 to the Secretary of State for Defence, regarding Oxleas Woods being considered as a potential site for anti-aircraft missiles over the Olympic period. Your e-mail has been forwarded to the Operations Directorate and I have been asked to reply.

I note your concerns that you raise in your email concerning the potential deployment of Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) during the Olympics. It may be helpful if I outline the support the MOD is providing, in support of the police and civil authorities, to ensure the safety and security of everyone involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including those living in and around London. The MOD has been working closely with the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police, who are leading on the safety and security for the Games, to provide a range of military support where specialist capabilities are required. One of MOD’s roles will be to ensure that the restricted airspace that will be in place over London during the Games is policed. The Civil Aviation authority will have robust communications in place for the general aviation community over the Games period.  MOD support will be provided in a number of ways including the use of Typhoon aircraft, helicopters, radars, visual/air observers, timely communications, and potentially, a GBAD system. A final decision on the deployment of GBAD has not yet been taken, however the military has the capability to provide this enhanced protection during the Games and it would be irresponsible for it not to be considered fully, including for its detection and deterrent capabilities.

We conducted detailed research of approximately 100 potential sites for GBAD equipment locations.  The majority of these sites were considered unsuitable due to topography and obstructions including buildings, masts and trees; six sites were subsequently found to be the most operationally suitable.   Local military-owned locations were among those assessed but were found to be unsuitable for the same reasons.

It is perhaps worth highlighting that, if deployed, the GBAD equipment would not actually be located within the Wood itself but on the open grass area of Oxleas Meadows.  You may be reassured that we are aware that Oxleas Wood is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and that we are taking the advice of Natural England on any specific requirements (although the equipment would not be on the SSSI area).

You have expressed your dissatisfaction about the lack of consultation with the local community. I acknowledge that the deployment, albeit temporarily for the Games, of military equipment and personnel can be unsettling particularly where the community may not be used to a military presence.  That is why MOD officials, supported by the Police, have been working closely with Council Leaders to set out our plans and to seek advice on how best to inform the community and minimise the local impact.  The Department has also been in contact with local MPs. Further engagements with Council leaders and MPs will continue, and with local communities. We hope that this will include a GBAD community open day in May, the details of which will be communicated in the coming weeks.

Yours sincerely,

Hugh Radford