In July 2005, a planning application was submitted by RWE Npower, to OCC, seeking detailed Planning Permission to fill two of the last remaining lakes in Radley. This followed from conditional planning permission granted 23 years ago in 1982.On the 10th July 2005, the application went out to consultation.and following pressure from Save Radley Lakes, the Radley Parish Council and the Public the deadline for objections was extended from the 10th August to the 30th August.  This application was then put into abeyance just before the application was due to be heard on the 17th October 2005.

NPower, faced with over seven hundred objections from the public and a significant objection from the Environment Agency have decided to continue with their plans but have modified them in the hope that the public can be deceived into thinking that there is some merit in the new plans over the old ones.  Indeed, there has been a concession - not to fill the smaller of the two lakes (which they don't own) and to create some sort of wildlife centre (like the Sutton Courtenay Reserve) which no doubt their partners in this, BBOWT, will be highly delighted.  However, Save Radley Lakes are not!  

NPower put in a brand new application, which in the three weeks or so that we had been given to read it, is a weighty application.  It if full of facts and figures which we have worked extremely hard to disseminate and to put forward counter arguments.  Our objections were to have to be received by the 17th March 2006. However, Oxfordshire County Council have agreed to an extension to the 13th April and our objection was eventually lodged, with the proviso that further information would be forthcoming and up to the date of the hearing, we could still table counter arguments.

Together, these are beautiful lakes. They are old (believed to be more than 50 years old) and surrounded by mature woodland. They and the surrounding area are a haven for wildlife including some rare and protected species (reputedly otters, Greater Crested Newts, and Water Voles) There are kingfishers grebe, orchids, grass snake, frogs, spiders, dragonflies etc.  . The lakes are used by lots of birds both migrating and resident. There are huge carp in both of the lakes.

The smaller lake is interconnected with the larger one.  If the larger lake (Thrupp Lake) is drained, then the smaller one (The Bullfield) will suffer and be damaged, possibly beyond recovery for some of the species which inhabit the lake and the other wildlife which rely on both lakes for their continued existence.

As an amenity, the aspects of both of these lakes are enjoyed by many people including walkers, naturalists, fishermen, and cyclists using the adjacent cycletrack.  They have become an important part of the landscape and their destruction should not be tolerated.

The lakes themselves are on the Thames floodplain and with the last infilling been filled above above their original levels has meant that a huge volume has already been removed from the floodplain in this area.  This coupled with a further sizeable area which would be removed, would cause flooding upstream of Radley and also downstream in Abingdon.  We have already received reports that dwellings along the Thames in Abingdon have experienced higher than normal flood levels in the last flood in 2003.  These residents have just cause for concern and if this infilling is allowed to be carried out countless homes and businesses will be under threat of flood where previously they had not.

Didcot Power Station agreed in 1982 that they would recycle the ash they produced.  However, changes in the way in which the ash has been classified by the Environment Agency has not helped Didcot in their ability to recycle in recent years. The ash should not be being treated as waste. It is a useful material in the building industry.  However, Didcot's record on recycling it is poor. When it had the opportunity to recycle the ash it did not, because it had the facility to fill Lakes A-D and had no need of the recycling plant which the CEGB promised would be built.   When they started to run out of space in the Radley Complex the Environment Agency had changed the rules about Fuel Ash and so the method of disposing of the ash had to change.  The policy of dumping and forgetting is unsustainable and damaging the environment.  

We are going to ask why there was no mitigation included for the Area H/I/J/P which has recently been filled completely with fuel ash.  There is no topsoil to restore this area, which is vast and because of the construction methods used, the ash is contained in a clay basin and will remain as a quicksand for years to come.  NPower propose using the same type of construction method in their latest application.  They have provided a mitigation plan (strangely omitted from the last planning application).   The line they are trotting out that the land will be restored to an amenity is impossible.  Again, there is no topsoil for the area and how on earth they expect to get things to grow on what is essentially a huge area of drying concrete is beyond belief.  They expect the watching public to believe their version of events, when we can see very clearly over the other side of the cycle-way what it really means.

You don't have to be a "swampy" to join in this protest.  Hundreds of people, young and old, of all political persuasions, are horrified at the proposed destruction of a beautiful area of natural habitat and want to stop this from happening.  Join the protest now. 

Contact the Campaign.


PFA is Pulverised Fuel Ash, a by-product from coal burning in coal-fired power stations.  For more information see Radley Village Website 


Didcot is only a short distance from Radley and the original decision to allow fuel ash to be dumped in Radley was made in the 1980's when environmental issues were not uppermost in the minds of the Local Authorities.  Since that time, other Power Stations have discovered the benefits of cleaning, recycling and exporting the PFA to countries where there is a shortage of construction materials.   Didcot, however, has found it easier to do none of these, and instead rely on planning consents granted in the last Century to dump this untreated waste into the local environment.

The Waste is mixed with water at Didcot and pumped over a pipeline and the slurry deposited into the lakes which will have been prepared with huge cost to the local wildlife and the environment.  Once the waste is deposited the water is run-off through a series of settling ponds, and discharged out into the Thames.  Particularly in this time of water shortages, this is a waste of a resource. Only a proportion of the water is given back to the Thames.  The rest stays in the basin like lagoons forming a quicksand like substance, which will evaporate over a very long period of time, and, of course, is topped up at intervals by rainfall.  There is a further issue about the disposal of ash as a slurry, contaminants are washed out of the ash into the waste water, and discharged into the Thames.   What has been discharged and how much???

If RWE Npower had not destroyed a bund at the Power Station, built in the 1980's to house fuel ash for recycling, there would be no need to fill the two remaining lakes.  The bund originally built and then demolished would hold what they are proposing to dump in Radley.  Currently, they have piled up a huge amount of ash.  Based on the information in their planning application, there should only be 60,000 tonnes of the stuff  - if we were to believe their figures - however, from the output of electricity that they recently boasted, we have calculated that there are nearer 200,000 tonnes of ash waiting to be disposed of at Didcot,

There is a further issue of the amount of water required to convert the ash to slurry.  There is a severe water shortage in the South East and their continued operation of this process means several million gallons of water will be used and when discharged will be contaminated with heavy metals.


Secretary of State rubber stamps OCC's decision   PDF Format 81KB



Bullfield Lake. Photographed by L Pasquire

On the left an idyllic scene at the Bullfield lake.  An angler from the West Midlands has travelled down to what has been described as the cleanest lake in the Country. 

On the right, the filling mechanism that will destroy all wildlife and prevent enjoyment of the area for at least twenty years.    NPower say they will restore, but they are not allowed to bring in top soil.  The best they can do is lay a small covering and wait 20 years for the ground to settle and cover itself with lichens and coarse scrub.

Filling Lake J
Thrupp Lake - Panorama - Photograph by L Pasquire
Thrupp Lake

Recently purchased by NPower

For £3.2 Million

They did not think there would be so much support for our campaign. PLEASE ADD YOUR VOICE



Lake H/I 28th July 2005.

Still being filled by NPower despite having told the Council filling had been completed.

  Below is a piece of fiction which was prepared by RWE NPower's Contractors to support their application to Oxfordshire County Council in 1992 to continue their operations.  Notice the time lines for ash fill which calculate the amount of time proposed to fill these lakes.  Notice also the proposed end-date.   NPower have said that the now intend the Ashfill at Radley to last until 2015.  This means they have disposed of more ash in the intervening period than they proposed to the Council in 1992.  The reason they have used up the facility is because of their "low cost coal flexible power station"  However, Radley is paying the price for their low-cost coal.  
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