NPower U-Turn or is it?
18th February 2008
Nine days after the Public Meeting in Abingdon convened by Evan Harris gave resounding support for the Judicial Review Process, NPower suddenly announced they didn't need Thrupp Lake after all (well, just for the foreseeable future of course) The recycling market had suddenly opened up to them (after numerous years of dumping ash to landfill) and was this anything to do with the Save Radley Lakes campaign that had prevented them from using Thrupp Lake for the last three years? NPower weren't going to admit that. They said it was due to unseasonally warm winters which meant there was less ash and a change in their generating profile. (They are restricted from this year in the number of hours the power station can operate)
So, is NPower genuine in their desire not to use Thrupp Lake, or is it a ploy to undermine the attempt to procure a Judical Review of Oxfordshire's decision? They must know, as we do, what the chances are of our success and they must know that if we succeed, they will never dump their ash in Thrupp Lake!
Coupled with this scenario is the current planning application by Tuckwells to extract the gravel from Thrupp Lake so NPower can fill it with ash. Tuckwells haven't got planning permission - it ran out in December 2007 and they are looking to extend their period of occupation of their site for a further five years whilst they continue their import/export business in aggregates. Oxfordshire County Council Planning and Regulation Committee will decide this in the next month or two.
In the meantime, the clock is ticking on the time allowed to consider making a judicial review. Radley Parish Council has agreed in principle to undertake the action, subject to public consultation of the parishioners, which will be completed by the end of February.
People are not fooled by NPower's change of tack. The only satisfactory outcome of this campaign will be for NPower to donate the land for public use, turn Sandles into an Ecology Research Centre, in exchange for their activities over the last three years - cutting down trees, using the High Court to stifle legitimate protest (see the video) and despoiling an area of the countryside without need. We always said they didn't need to dump to landfill and we have been proved right - In this respect, our campaign has been successful.
We want NPower's guarantee that this area will be given over to public use and no more ash will be dumped in Radley. Not much to ask really!