announced in December 2008 that they were no longer in need of
Thrupp Lake for Ash Disposal. In May 2009 they announced
that Northmoor Trust had been appointed to manage the site and
they were to construct an environmental educational/research centre
on the site, using either the existing property or starting afresh,
depending on funding. It would take a year to get the legal
paperwork and funding sorted out.
July 2007 we had approached Waste Recycling Group appealing to
them that they should take NPower's ash. There was beneficial
use to which it could be put if they could only recognise the
value of what was supposed to be a waste product.
WRG took this initiative seriously and started negotiations with
Npower. They needed to get planning permission to take the
ash, and in July 2008, Oxfordshire County Council gave them permission
to develop a used gravel pit to take NPower's ash. We had
succeeded where others had failed.
County Council had finally granted planning permission to NPower
on 5 January 2007, but we continually delayed their progress with
legal queries and initiatives. RWE npower still needed to obtain
a number of detailed approvals before they could start work.
They would also have to obtain an ‘IPPC' (pollution prevention
and control) licence before they could start dumping ash in Thrupp
Lake . This would cost several thousand pounds and would
come with further conditions.
October 2006, we had made an application to Oxfordshire
County Council to have the Thrupp and Bullfield Lakes and land
immediately around registered as a ‘Town Green' under the Commons
Registration Act 1965. Under this act, if local people have used
an area for recreation ‘as of right' for at least twenty years,
it can be registered as a town or village green. That protects
it from development. The application (which was supported by lots
of evidence from local people) had been accepted as ‘duly made'
by the County Council. That means that there is case that needs
to be looked at.
sought objections from the landowners (including RWE npower!),
the public Inquiry was held between 2nd and 4th April 2007 in
the New Pavillion, Radley College, Radley resuming on 20th June
and closed on the 22nd June 2007.
believed we had a good case . Two other similar Oxfordshire cases
(the Glebe Land at Sunningwell and the Trap Grounds in Oxford
) both went to the House of Lords. In both cases, the Law Lords
ruled in favour of the campaigners, and the land was protected
from development. However, the Inspector disagreed and recommended
to Oxfordshire County Council that no Town Green Status be granted.
the end of December 2006, a group of people moved into ‘Sandles'
(the empty house, owned by RWE npower, by Thrupp Lake. The
group (who we like to refer to as ‘the settlers') said they were
homeless. They said they were also committed to trying to save
the Lakes. RWE
npower's first attempt to have the group evicted failed because
RWE npower bungled the legal paperwork!
were successful on the second attempt and a brutal eviction of
the people who had taken over Sandles was carried out by people
whose methods were questionable and dangerous. NPower were
delighted to get their property back and to clamp down on any
protest, they went to the High Court and obtained an injunction
against six named individuals. Only one of those named is
a member of Save Radley Lakes Campaign. The others are not.
Radley Lakes' position has always been not to condone illegal
acts and whilst we welcomed the attentions of the media which
resulted from the "settlers" occupation of Sandles,
we stressed that they were independent of our campaign but had
the same objective - to save the lakes from destruction.
the High Court Injunction, we were not allowed to photograph or
film RWE npower clearing hundreds of trees and destroying potential
nesting sites for Birds. Even if a crime was being committed
it was a Contempt of Court to film it! RWE NPower had to
stop work at the 1st March and made the excuse that a Coots Nest
had been found and so in accordance with the Countryside and Wildlife
Act they would stop work!
was also very gratifying that support for the campaign was growing,
rather than falling away, after the High Court Injunction.
It was a monumental home goal on the part of NPower. However,
it did have a very adverse affect on one of our members who was
specifically named for no apparent reason.