Military-style spy cameras on Hampstead Heath is a step too far

THE road to ruin is paved with good intentions. No doubt there is some logic behind the idea to place secret cameras around Hampstead Heath, and public safety –which will be used as justification – is always a difficult concept to argue against. But surve

THE road to ruin is paved with good intentions. No doubt there is some logic behind the idea to place secret cameras around Hampstead Heath, and public safety -which will be used as justification - is always a difficult concept to argue against.

But surveillance in London is out of control. The people of this great city are already the most spied-upon in the world.

It's not so long ago that this newspaper revealed that there were more than 50 CCTV cameras at a single underground station in Finchley. Before that, the revelation that Camden Council was selling discreetly-gathered pictures of every home in the borough came as a shock to many householders.

The spread of cameras to the wide open spaces of the Heath is another step too far. The Heath spells freedom, an exhilarating release from the pressures of city life. Do people want to be under surveillance as they enjoy it, on equipment that is of military style precision? Of course not. For many flat dwellers it is their nearest and dearest piece of outside space, a garden for the masses. Apart from Russian billionaires and pop stars, who wants CCTV in their garden?


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Many great battles have been fought on more obvious dangers to the unique character of the Heath.

This is a surreptitious threat that is no less detrimental to its relatively unspoiled ambiance, and it is hard to see how it can have anything other than a detrimental impact on the way it is enjoyed by so many users.

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