FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT....
What a contrast from a month earlier, when the Water Vole endured temperatures in the eighties to parade round Oxford Streets to raise awareness of the Save Radley Lakes Campaign.
A lovely autumnal day, with mists rising over the lakes at Radley, and even more mist from Lakes H and I where NPower were pumping fuel ash into the lake which some would say was already overfilled. They have been checking the levels and are not happy with what has been discovered. Perhaps the Environment Agency would like to have a copy of that report but I doubt that NPower will publish the findings.
Taking turns round the centre the Water Vole handed out leaflets to passers-by inviting them to the Exhibition taking place in New Inn Hall Street.
Meanwhile the hall was a hive of activity. The photographic exhibition had grown with contributions from other group members and earned many compliments from the visitors.
On one side we had a marvellous film showing on a wide screen TV especially imported for the purpose, which one of our members had compiled, very professionally, with images of the lakes, people enjoying the lakes, and some of the wildlife, all set to music, but not forgetting the area on the opposite side of the Sustrans Way. Lakes H/I - A carbuncle on the landscape, if we can pinch someone else's description, which, in this case, seems very apt.
This boil of putrescence rising up above the greenery and the blue of the adjacent lakes, the colour undescribable, the area reminiscent of a concentration camp with high barbed wire fences around which burnt out cars lie like skeletons bleaching in the sun. There is no shade here, the trees have all been cut down. There is a huge mound of brash soil and clay which NPower tell us is topsoil but anyone with an iota of gardening knowledge will tell you it looks akin to builders spoil. Climbing up this hump you get a panoramic view over the previous existing lake, which is now enclosed, derilict, sprouting plantains, one of the few plants which will survive on this barren ground. After all, what else grows on concrete, because that is what PFA sets into over time.
NPower would have us believe that they can restore this area to a beautiful nature reserve, and Phillipa Lyons of BBOWT went on Radio Oxford to say she was certain whatever was put in place after filling with PFA would be better than what was there before - a position that defied comprehension by the public and members of Save Radley Lakes.
Further into the hall, there was a table groaning with the weight of organic produce and home-cooked food. The SRL Members had really gone to town for the Oxford Exhibition. The Vegetarian Quiche was out of this world - it disappeared piece by piece in next to no time. Home-made Pizza - mouth wateringly good - not like those frozen cardboard things that come from the Value Section. The Cakes, delicious and varied were snapped up, sometimes as whole cakes, to be enjoyed at home later. People commented there was too much choice, it was hard to make up their minds.
We were asked many times if we were touring with the Exhibition and could we come to other places because it was felt there was a message to be brought home in the superb images that were on display. We are open to suggestions between now and the time of the Planning Committee Meeting - unless of course NPower do the decent thing and drop their proposal to destroy acres of existing landscape and kill millions of life-forms which have happily existed for the last fifty years in the last two remaining Radley Lakes.
For further information