What our Members

and the Public have to say!


From Dr C H of Fife.  Copy of a letter written to RWE NPower

Anita Longley
Head of Corporate Responsibilty
RWE npower plc
Windmill Hill Business Park
Whitehill Way

7 June 2007

Dear Ms Longley

Re: Corporate Irresponsibility – I’ve quit npower Juice

I have terminated my customer account with npower because of your heavy-handed legal actions against the Radley Lakes support groups. I consider your actions to be those of corporate bullies, and that your use of the law to infringe long established civil rights to be an utter disgrace. Secondly, pre-emptive action to destroy the nature reserve by felling all the trees when you have not satisfied – and may not satisfy - planning conditions is a an act of environmental vandalism. Find a market
for the PFA instead of dumping it !

This are corporate responsibility issues – I regret it is unlikely to be considered in your CSR reports.

Although I have until now supported your renewable energy project Juice, I have transferred our electricity account to a more ethical provider. I will continue to boycott npower for the foreseeable future, and will urge others to also boycott you.
Yours, hoping npower rethinks it’s tactics.
Dr C H


Olivia Mann, a local schoolgirl made a petition off her own initiative and got her friends to sign. This was delivered to RWE NPower in Swindon in January, but unfortunately they decided not to take any notice.

Olivia has put the details on the BBC Website, which you can see by following the link here to visit the Press Pack Website for her posting

  Visit www.epuk and see Sqweegee's Blog.  Play the Video and marvel at the way in which the identities of the Lawyers have been protected from public gaze!  
The Npower Lumberjack Song

(To be sung to the tune of the Monty Python Lumberjack song)


Npower's lumberjacks are not OK

They work after 1p.m. on Saturday


They chop down trees on Sunday too

They trample on wild flowers

They violate the planning laws

By working after hours.


Npower's security is not OK

They wear black masks both night and day


They try to scare off local folks

They're really not our mates

But when 300 marchers pass

They cower behind locked gates.


Npower's solicitors are not OK

They serve out writs for lots of pay


Injunctions carry loads of clout

They try to gag the press

They wear appalling stripey suits

And get them in a mess.


Npower's morality is not OK

They'll do anything to get their own way


They hand out cash to schools and clubs

But everyone knows why

They say they'll make a Nature Park

And pigs will really fly.

  SAVE RADLEY LAKES (after the manner of Pam Ayres)  

There's a beautiful lake down by Radley,

Not far from the Oxfordshire Thames,

But a cloud's hangin' over it, sadly,

Though it's one of Dame Nature's real gems.

Local people are angry and sour,

Holdin' protests and lookin' for cash,

‘ Cos a company, RWE npower

Wants to pump that nice lake full of ash.

It's a German-owned outfit, npower,

Makes electric from coal-fired steam,

But the stuff that it sells by the hour

Makes this ash in amounts you can't dream.

So with help from their friends in high places

They pipe it to fill up our lakes,

And set guards with masks on their faces

And get Courts to stop protests we makes.

This last lake is a beautiful treasure

For wildlife of all kinds and sorts,

Which gives all its visitors pleasure

With its peace and its nature and sports.

So we're asking for help from you readers,

To stand up and do what it takes

To get npower to listen and heed us.

Join the action, and Save Radley Lakes !

RM Stephens. February 2007

  Posted by: Christina Holmqvist, Stockholm/Sweden on 4:19pm 17th Feb  

.I'm a Swedish citizen with friends in the Abingdon area. I have been following their fight to save the Lake area and I must say that I was apalled to hear about the latest developments! What is happening to Britain? I hear about people being arrested, guards in balaclavas preventing people from coming near the site, about peaceful demonstrations being stopped...? I cannot help thinking about the time of the cold war, about the countries behind the Iron Curtain... Is this the England I loved so much? What is happening to democracy? To the fundamantal rights of law-abiding citizens to take an interest in matters that concern them? Their rights to take action to save the environment? In times where we are constantly being reminded of the global threats against the environment, we should be happy that there are people who care, who are willing to give of their time and energy to preserve nature against those who want to destroy it only to make more money. I'm proud of my friends - intelligent, peaceful people - who care! And I support them and everyone else in this fight which has now developed into a very unpleasant issue of democratic rights. It seems to me Britain is on dangerous ground when they tamper with the civil rights of the individual! I shall make sure I keep all my friends in this country - and abroad - posted on the developments in Oxfordshire! To all those involved in saving the lakes: Keep up the good fight! You have supporters abroad too!

  Oxford Times Editorial - Fri 16th Feb 2007, Page 16  

We have steered clear of judging the rights or wrongs of RWE npower's plans to fill Radley Lakes with ash, preferring to report the important issues raised by the debate and leave our readers to make up their own minds.

We do not propose to change that stance, which is one that we quite rightly maintain on most of the issues we report on.

However, we cannot let RWE npower's heavy-handed approach this week pass without comment.

Balaclava-clad security guards at the lakes have provoked a lot of concern among local people who have accused them of heavy-handed tactics. The company has every right to protect its interests against a minority of extremists but it has shown little discrimination this week.

While it may find the activities of Save Radley Lakes irritating, the group is not extreme - it is made up of respected members of the local community.

The clincher this week was RWE npower's recourse to a draconian court order seeking to limit protest at the site. Not only has this order been served on those involved in squatting at Radley Lakes but also on Dr Peter Harbour, a respected member of the community and a key Save Radley Lakes campaigner.

The order also impels Save Radley Lakes to post a copy of the order on its website.

The court's decision to grant RWE npower an injuntion raises important issues of freedom of speech and the right to protest. We are not aware of any evidence that those working for or on behalf of RWE npower face anything like the sort of threat that those associated with animal laboratories do.

As for the idea that RWE npower should need to resort to these measures to protect itself from Save Radley Lakes, it would be laughable, if there were not serious cause for concern for every protest group in the country.

9:37am Friday 16th February 2007

Editor Oxford Times.


We have had so many comments from people following the article in the Ecologist, it is difficult to keep up with them all.  However, here is one which sums up nicely the views of hundreds of people who have contacted us about NPower's deviousness.

Hello to all Radley Lake campaigners,

My name is Tracey and I live in North Wales. I read about your fight against npower in the Ecologist. How can a government body, be it local authority or central government be so careless with OUR environment as to allow such a huge money making monster to pollute such an important site. The site is not important because it's 'pretty' it's importance lies in the fact that it has survived, until now, untouched and accessible to all, man, beast and bird. We have just been given the all to obvious news that MAN is the cause of our current global warming trend. But we already knew this it was just the powers that be who needed to be brought up to date, but obviously they were NOT listening, if they were there would be no issue regarding Radley Lakes, the lakes would be safe, protected by the very people who are now giving it all away to accommodate the hungry beast.

Why do we always end up with a spineless bunch in Parliment why can't they fight for us instead of against us, why does Britain have to be the lap dog of the world, if it's no good let Britain deal with it, be it rubbish, toxic waste, people or WAR it seems we are seen as nothing more than a huge rubbish bin.

I have changed my energy supplier thanks to your article in the Ecologist,yes I was with the monster, because they own a wind farm off the North Wales coast and we were misled inot thinking npower was a 'green' company, well thanks to you and the ecologist I'm now a wiser and more aware consumer.

Keep up the good work and I will do my bit by enlightening as many npower customers on what a filthy animal npower really is.
I have never visited your part of our world but no matter where we live the world is OUR back garden it affects us all.
Good Luck to you all Tracey  
  Andy is a Cyclist - he is in favour of Greenpeace's protest and said so on the Cycling forum  

Rex who is travelling in Malaysia got to hear of Radley Lakes through the October 2006 article in the Ecologist. 

He was moved to write in protest and compose some poetry which he has posted on his website at http://www.organiccooksdelight.co.uk/

  Reprinted from The Oxford Times Friday 28th July 2006.  

No comparison between sites' wildlife value

Sir, Time for a reality check on the famous "rare" orchids growing at the former gravel pits "restored" by RWE npower at Radley (Country Matters, July 14).

First, the orchids growing at Lake D are in fact growing on imported topsoil, rather than PFA itself. Because of its extreme chemical composition, very little can grow on PFA, as any visitor who peers through the chain-link fencing at Radley can verify.

Second, Marsh Helleborine, the species in question, could by no means be described as "rare", as it occurs on hundreds of sites around the country. Indeed the Radley Lakes area is naturally home to no less than eight of our native British orchid species.

In contrast, the existing Thrupp and Bullfield lakes at Radley are pristine habitats which have developed as lakes over more than 50 years. In the longer term they are part of a landscape which has remained unchanged since at least the sixteenth century and which has never been subjected to modern agricultural practices.

It is because of this that the lakes rank as amongst the five most biodiverse wildlife sites in Oxfordshire. They teem with unusual and legally protected species such as Cetti's warbler, kingfishers and water voles, together with creatures such as Ephemera lineata, a mayfly so rare that it makes it into the Red Data Book of endangered species. The spider- hunting wasp, Anoplius caviventris, (entirely dependent upon wetland habitats) is found in only ten locations in the whole of Britain , and it is by no means certain that it still occurs in all of these. There is simply no comparison between the wildlife value of the two sites.

Rachel Everett, Abingdon

  Copy of an email sent to us from a Member of the Public  
  I am a teacher at a local school and I also coach the senior cross
country running team. I regularly take the boys for long runs adjacent
to the lakes and we often have scheduled breaks there to both rest and
enjoy the scenery.

My wife and I are hoping to buy a home in Radley in the very near future. I therefore wholeheartedly support your campaign.

Mr. A.C.
  Copy of an objection sent to us from a Member of the Public  

Abingdon, Oxon , OX14 1XX

5 April 2006



Richard Dudding

Director for Environment and Economy

Oxfordshire Country Council

County Hall





Dear Sir


JOD/8.4/5197/4 – Radley Ash Disposal Scheme – Lakes E


I object to the proposals submitted by RWE Npower to extend their operations at Radley to fill Lake E (known to the local population as Thrupp Lake ) on the following grounds:


I moved to Abingdon nearly twenty years ago, and stumbled across Radley lakes while out walking one morning after settling in to my new home. Ever since that day, I can say that I have walked this wonderful area nearly everyday since I found them (except during the destruction of Lakes H & I a few years ago, when I couldn't bear to watch it taking place.) The remaining lakes at Radley are an absolute treasure to the area, a place of peace and a wildlife haven that should not be lost.


Over the years, with the ever increasing population of Abingdon (for which I commend the council for building on brown field sites within the town, rather than on the greenbelt land), the lakes have become an even more essential leisure area for the people of Abingdon. I have seen increasing numbers of walkers, families, cyclists, joggers, anglers, bird watchers, dog walkers, horse riders and painters using this beautiful area for relaxation and de-stressing from the hectic world around us. Over the past couple of weeks I have had the privilege of watching a barn owl quietly hunting the banks of the lake, and this morning, while on my morning run, the sounds of the birds calling from around the lakes was totally overwhelming. How can we possibly afford to loose such a wonderful place?


Radley Lakes are an essential asset not only to the truly amazing amount of wildlife it provides a home too, but to the inhabitants of Abingdon and Oxfordshire as a whole, and they should not be lost as a result of the short-term vision of NPower. Please do not let this happen.


The decision to deprive the people of Abingdon and Oxfordshire of this essential leisure and wildlife area, lies in your hands. Please make the right decision. Please reject NPower's proposal, and save this truly outstanding area for the generations to come.


Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.


Yours sincerely


C     D

  Received by email 6th March 2006.  

Duncalfe, John - Environment & Economy, Land Use

cc: Cllr Keith Mitchell
Subject: Radley Lakes

I understand that a new application is being sought by npower to destroy
for ever another of our local treasures. I hope you support the rejection of
their application. The area is in danger of  becoming an industrial waste
site. They are damaging the environment and building unsightly holding
areas with security fencing.They have already created an eyesore that can be seen from the river and the Thames Walk. People are dismayed at who allows this sort of thing to happen.

Our obligation should be to preserve our fragile environment, protecting
wildlife and nature from industrial waste.

They will have other plans if their application is rejected, as a business
they must have contingency plans. I suspect they are only pursuing Radley
Lakes on purely selfish economic grounds ~ short transport trips for their
trucks, what do they care about our area, they are likely only interested in
bottom line £..

Why can they not be more enterprising, brainstorm some ideas like finding a construction application or other use for the ash.

Why not send by train to fill up disused coal mines, bag up for flood
protection, etc etc. Put the ball back in their court.

But please dont let them fill Radley Lakes.



  Received by email 4th March 06.  


As one of my ancestors said to the judge who judged him and then deported him to die in Australia, N Power and the planning board will  "You who have judged me today will be judged later by a higher judge later on!" and by this I say to N Power a German run company and the planning board, this mess that you leave this County and Great Country in with this application of dumping will leave you to be judged later by a higher Authority such as God.

Yes, I am very concerned with this new planning application, as it will have affects on my house in terms value when I wish to move, it also will have great affect on the environment, that is birdlife as well as the animals
too.   It will also have great affect on the general landscape.     And when
I say landscape when and if the River Thames floods what will happen to all the un-said waste that they are dumping in this site as it's right on the
flood plain.


  Received by email 24th Feb 2006.  
  We moved from Brixton to Abingdon in 1976, our estate was new then, an still being finished.

Me and my freinds would walk to the back of our estate when it was open spaces, the kids would cycle there, and the whole estate would hold
bonfire Parties. We would often walk to what we called 'Radley Pits', and
spend time around the lakes.

Now it is 2006, still in the same house, but the open spaces have been
built on, and more of the lakes have dissappeared, I have not been to the
lakes for a few years now, I must make an effort and see them some time.

I have signed the petition, and hope the campaign is successful and the
beuty is retained. In this time  of water shortages, why fill up lakes
with Ash from a Coal Fired station. Where does Didcot Power Station get its water from, I remember years ago walking round the power station with my late parents during a very rare open day. They were very proud of their own small 'lake/reservoir' then.

Daisy Bank
  Received by email 24th Feb 2006.  
  Are they seriously gonna fill in both of them lakes? what about the
fish.........................there is a certain fish in Bullfield lake that
is one of the oldest and largest Carp in our County. I have walked around it many times, climbing trees hoping for a glimpse of that fish. Also there are huge carp to unknown proportions in Thrupp lake, not to mention the other wildlife that inhabit the area.
Have they not thought it through, it would have serious reprocussions on the ecology of the whole area and with the River Thames very close, this could cause untold damage.

Could you please advise me that if the fill does go ahead, is there a fish
removal strategy in place? The Oxford and Abingdon Anglers Alliance have the fishing rights to Bulfield, are they controlling the fish moving? Presumabley moving fish to another water under their control? or are the EA going to be involved?

Im quiet angered at the fact that 2 beautiful lakes are going to be
destroyed, surely there is another solution.

Keep up the good work with the Campaign!


A Radley Lake through the branches

The Radley lakes are worked-out gravel pits that have made an attractive feature in the Thames flood plain near Abingdon. They've also made an excellent habitat for birds and all kinds of wildlife.

But now the electricity generator at Didcot power station has applied to use them as a place to dump fly-ash. There's been a local campaign to stop this. If it doesn't succeed we'll lose an important bit of habitat, not to mention a nice place to walk.

B.Leith with link to his website.


Received by mail from Mr J C D. who lives in Bedfordshire

Ode to Destiny

A Mechanical Man, on patrol one day,

Spied a Green Shoot on the motorway

He furrowed his brow and drew his blade

As he bent to cut its stem, he said

"You, Green Shoot, are out of place

You are No Use to the Human Race"

Said the Green Shoot to the Mechanical Man

"I'm a Vital Link in Nature's Plan

I hold together the Earth and Sky

Without me all the World will die"

The Mechanical Man was undeterred,

Unmoved by Green Shoot's warning words

With one swift nick, Green Shoot was dead

And the Man resumed his wary tread

Strong in this Firm Belief was he

Green Shoot died from Necessity.

Years passed and the World still felt the same

(or did it?)

Its living fabric weakened, but still vital

But Progress marches resolutely on

'till all the World's Green Shoots had gone

Mechanical man laid down to die:

The last word on his lips was "Why?"

  Received via email following examination of NPower's Planning Application:  

In the drawing J20115/E/202 provided with the RWE npower Environmental Statement, it is stated that the height of Lake F is 52.0m; from this I take the height of the immediately surrounding land to be about 52.5m. The approximate bed level of lake E is stated to be 49.0m and the final ‘restoration' level is 55.80m. Thus we see that the lake bed is 3.5m below ground level and the final ash level will be 3.3m above ground – roughly equal above and below. Furthermore, the slope of the embankment means that the surface area of ash above ground level will be substantially greater than the surface area below ground level. Taking these different surface areas into account, I calculate that the volume of ash above ground will actually be about 10% greater than that below ground.

Strictly speaking therefore, we are not talking about ‘landfill' but rather about dumping. Similarly, the planned height of the dump should not be termed ‘restoration' level because it is much higher than the original ground level.

If more ash will be dumped above ground than below it, I suggest that this greatly weakens the case for using the lake. One could equally dump the ash above ground on another site, for example the filled Lakes A, B, C and D. Despite the assurances from RWE npower, these sites have not returned to nature, they are rather sterile barren places which be much less damaged by further dumping than the beautiful and fully naturalized Lake E.

Dr. M.W.

  Received via email March 06, copy of letter to OCC  

Thought you would like to see what I mailed to oxfordshire gov. offices.

I walk with my wife and bike along the Thames Path past the lakes regularly , and it really annoys me what they are doing.    Keep up the good work.

I understand that a new application is being sought by npower to destroy for ever another of our local treasures. I hope you support the rejection of
their application. The area is in danger of  becoming an industrial waste
site. They are damaging the environment and building unsightly holding areas with security fencing.  They have already created an eyesore that can be seen from the river and the Thames Walk. People are dismayed at who allows this sort of thing to happen.
Our obligation should be to preserve our fragile environment, protecting
wildlife and nature from industrial waste.
They will have other plans if their application is rejected, as a business
they must have contingency plans. I suspect they are only pursuing Radley
Lakes on purely selfish economic grounds ~ short transport trips for their
trucks, what do they care about our area, they are likely only interested in
bottom line £..
Why can they not be more enterprising, brainstorm some ideas, like finding a construction application or other use for the ash.
Why not send by train to fill up disused coal mines, bag up for flood
protection, etc etc. Put the ball back in their court. But please dont let them fill Radley Lakes.


  Received by email December 2005  

Radley's Thrupp and Bullfield Lakes

Raindrops pattern the still lakes' surface,

Dragonflies delicately dance

Whilst carp move like silent ghosts beneath.

Emerging shimmering Damselflies

Reveal effervescent beauty

In now warm sunshine.

Summer wind gently brushes the face;

Blending with birdsong

The heart overflows with joy.


Nightfall brings darting bats across these waters

Gracefully feeding on countless insects;

Watching them delights my soul.


Long may this heaven abide

To soothe my troubled mind

When these times arise

© Jo Cartmell, Abingdon, Oxfordshire

December 2005

  Poem sent to Radley Village Website and forwarded to SRL  

I have visited your beautiful village a few years back and was shocked by reading on your site about the plans of npower that I wrote this poem. Perhaps it may be of use in a newsletter/website/parish magazine/local newspaper that you might be appropriate please by all means circulate it to as many sources that you can think of as the lakes are so lovely we just can't stand here seeing them go. I really look forward to hearing back from you.

The radiant poise

Why would anyone want to destroy?

This tranquil and thin place?

As the heaven touches the Earth here

But Npower is leading such beauty into disgrace.

By keep on harming its wildlife

And our fond memories of the Thrupp Lake

By turning everything so tragically barren

Like the promises on how long it will take!

In restoring this greedy mess

That wrecks history and plants

It's just a cenosphere harvest

That has no common sense to grant.

As it seems like the left hand

Doesn't know what the right hand is doing

When they handle the ash of PFA

Trouble is definitely brewing.

For those who have walked in marvel

To be then sufferers of industrial noise

We can't allow this lunacy to happen

Radley!! Forever keep your radiant poise!

© Daniel North, Essex.

  Received from one of the Runners in the Abingdon Marathon 16th October 2005  


I'm sure you are already aware that 1,000 or so marathon runners ran past the Radley Lakes on the morning of Sunday 16 October (yesterday), as part of the deservedly popular Abingdon Marathon. I was one of them.

As I ran yesterday morning, I was particularly struck by the beauty of the lakes, with a magical autumn mist shot through with the first rays of the morning sun. My wife and I only recently moved to Oxfordshire and I had never seen the lakes before – it was a pleasant and inspiring sight to see them. However, when I completed the marathon I was appalled to hear from your representatives about this appalling proposal. I, my wife, and my family were only too happy to sign your petition. Were it not for the sheer horror of the prospect, it would be a laughably stupid notion. Sometimes I think we barely deserve to call ourselves “homo sapiens”.

I wish you good luck in your continued fight, and from now on I will keep tabs on events through your website. I will also be adding my voice of protest by writing to RWE npower .

I trust that, in years to come, there will be many more marathon runners (as well as countless others) drawing inspiration and peace from the Radley Lakes .



Botley, Oxford

  Received by email from a member of the public  

Dear Sir/Madam

I wish to add my voice to the protest at the proposed destruction of the wildlife treasures of the Radley lakes by RWE NPower. It is a proposal I wish to oppose most strongly, as a former resident of Radley, as someone who values the plants and animals and birds of our county, and as a member of Oxfordshire Badger Group. I am very concerned to hear of the reduction of space for the badgers to seek their foraging areas, which must be considered in any planning application before permission is given. To sacrifice such a sanctuary for birds plants and invertebrates and to fill it with ash is appalling.

Yours truly



  Received by email from a member of the public  

I have just heard of the application to fly tip ash from Didcot power station into the remaining lakes at Radley. I would like to voice my great objection to this proposal. The current lakes being used for this purpose have become an unsightly blot on the landscape of what was being established as a wildlife haven. Only recently during one of my lunchtime wilderness walks away from the stress of the office, I came across a family of grass snakes in the cleaner waters. The proposed dumping will eliminate these endangered animals from the local environment. For once we need to look at the environmental cost of such issues rather than the just the financial impact to the producers of turning this waste into usable by-products. I understand that many other power stations already do recycle their high carbon content waste by further processing. I find it hard to believe that the additional cost of processing to produce a commercially viable  by-product equates to the risk of potential long term damage to the environment. More short-term actions which seem to have become the normal practice. I find it interesting that this area surrounds the old Radley to Abingdon railway track bed, which historically must be seen as this country's first act of gross short-term political vandalism. Let's not have these lakes meeting the same fate.

I hope that my objection can be raised along with the many other local like minded people.



  A more poetical letter of support received by a resident of Abingdon.  
Bullfield Lake by Lynda Pasquire


Beaten tracks trace the water's edge, buffered by

Saplings and grotesquely sprouting shrubbery.

Relentless intercourse between land and lake

Procreates half-sunken canvasses that speak

To the dislocated mind, with an eerie

Sense of upside-down familiarity.

Temperate air is impregnated by damp

Drops, not steam from an equatorial swamp.

Instead of humming-birds and alligatgors

Napping, the omnivorous pike and waders

Patrol this kingdom.  Not browsing manatees

But water-voles nibble at the roots of trees

Drowned, with seeming permanence in gravel pits-

Pallid images of humid everglades

Seen through a glass, the wetlands of Florida

Prismed in the northern light of Oxfordshire.

                                                                                        John Cunliffe. September 05.

  Copy of an email objection written by a member of the public  
Thrupp Lake. Jo Cartmell
Dear Sir
I would like to add my objections to the proposal to fill the remaining 2 Radley Lakes.  Forty years ago I used to swim in one of the ones which is already lost.  Now I take my grandchildren to sail their remote controlled boat on the remaining ones and the children cannot understand that one day these might disappear.  I found I was unable to answer their question" why?" to their satisfaction.  It will be a real tragedy if future generations are denied the opportunity to enjoy these beautiful stretches of water.


12th September 2005.

  Copy of a letter of objection written by a member of the public  



OX14 1xx


31 August 2005

Mr Richard Dudding

Director of Environment and Economy

Speedwell House

Speedwell Street




Dear Mr Dudding


Re Radley Lakes


I have lived in this area for more than thirty years and the presence of the Radley Lakes on my doorstep has been a feature which I have always valued. I have taken my children, my nephews and nieces to the gravel-pits. I would like them to be available to my grandchildren, because they are an amenity which should not be lost. I believe that they were classified as a county wildlife site at one time, but not any longer. Is it imaginable that there is less wild-life there now than when they were so classified? I think not, because they are teeming with wild-life on a scale which is rare anywhere in the land.


I object to the proposal to infill the remaining lakes with fly-ash, an activity which is being phased out across the EU. For example in the Netherlands, where I keep a boat, the harbour surrounds (working areas where boats are stored, when out of the water, and worked on) are dressed with fly-ash, but the water in the harbour, despite being dredged to constant depth is full of fish and has a regular visit from a wide range of birds. I understand that in the Netherlands 95% of flyash is recycled, as in Germany , the headquarters of RPE n-power. If in the Netherlands it becomes necessary to fill in a harbour, for the construction of a road for example, flyash is not tipped into the water. That is for the obvious reason that it damages the ecology and would make a mockery of the enormous amount of work being done to claw back the environmental losses over the previous generations.


On a recent visit to the lakes I sat transfixed by the abundance of nature. It was a hot day and we had planned to swim but the display before us was so magnificent we could only look and wonder. Equally we could suffer amazement that anyone would wish to ruin what we saw for whatever reason.


It is my understanding that the present application concerns a variation on the planning consent due to difficulties with meeting the original constraints given in 1982. It is my understanding that the 1982 permission must be viewed as a material consideration. It could be viewed that between 1982 and the present day there has been a dash for gas, now over, which meant that Didcot Power Station obtained a windfall of cheap gas with no disposal problems. In exploiting that market they helped kill off what was left of the British Coal Industry and now are faced with burning imported coal with dubious quality, and higher levels of impurity. That is an equally important material consideration. During the dash for gas they were not the least bit interested in filling the lakes at the originally planned rate, still less did they have to think of what to do now that the lakes are nearly full. They must have had adequate time to work out an alternative strategy and if not they could ask their parent company in Germany , who have such a strategy in place. Twenty three years to have rights over land and not use them is extra-ordinary. If I apply to build something my application requires me to start within five years. Otherwise, quite correctly, it comes up for a re-submission to allow for the fact that the situation might have changed and permission might not be given now, whereas it was given in the past.


Other grounds for objection are that I am concerned about pollution of the groundwater and the Thames by heavy metals and radioactive material.. I am also concerned about flooding in the area. The 2003 flood level already reflects the changing nature of the area, our misuse of the floodplain and the need to retain wetlands for the safe storage of floodwater. Climate change makes this ever more important and was not seen as a factor in 1982, even if it should have been! Abingdon is just downstream of the gravel pits and the loss of half a million cubic metres of potential floodwater storage (maybe a couple of million if one includes the clay bunds planned?) bodes ill for Abingdon come the next flooding incident. If the incidence of litigation increases at its present rate one can imagine that after the next flood the insurance companies will get together and sue the authorities who gave planning permission for filling the gravel pits. When my premium increases I shall certainly point this out to the company concerned!


I trust that this letter will be included even though submitted just after the deadline due to illnes.

Yours sincerely,



  Copy of an email received from the Save Radley Lakes Website  


   I was appalled to learn that Didcot Power station are planning to fill
the beautiful Radley lakes with ash waste!  Do they not know what a
beautiful area it is and how much wildlife they will be destroying?  Let
alone the huge impact it will make to the environment.

   I have enjoyed many an afternoon walking around the lakes  taking in the
variety of the wildlife they support.

   Surely Didcot power station cannot justify killing off so much life just
to get rid of some waste?

   I will certainly not be inclined to make use of the area if it is filled
with waste ash - it won't have quite the same appeal!

   I hope the power station is refused its planning and that the wildlife
and environment can be saved.

J-C. 5th August 2005.

  Copy of an email received from the Save Radley Lakes Website  

I've only recently heard about your campaign.  I will be writing to those you recommend on your excellent website (many thanks to those who've clearly worked very hard to put this together!).
I only moved to south-west Abingdon last August.  One of my reasons for choosing the area was the abundance of natural amenities nearby, including the Radley Lakes.  I use the area for walking and nature-watching.  In my
garden at home, I regularly have visits from large and small dragonflies and bats (and even have a resident frog though I don't have a pond myself!).
Also I often hear woodpeckers, jays, and owls, and there is a wide variety of smaller bird species in the area (This spring and summer I have seen in my garden long-tailed, coal, and blue-tits; greenfinch, goldfinch, wren and robin). 

I am sure that the diversity of wildlife I enjoy would be much diminished by the destruction of the local lakes.
Many thanks and best wishes



24th August 2005.

    Copy of an email received from the Save Radley Lakes Website  
The remaining two Radley Lakes are precious, the impact of their destruction is so apparant and may soon be gone for ever. Ten lakes have been filled in since the early eighties. Facilities for the pumping of sludge from Didcot are already in place and the scale of the project is enormous. The threat is local, on Abingdon's doorstep  behind the new sports centre.

We attended your splendid exhibition last Saturday at Abingdon Guildhall; it is incredible that one lake that has previously been filled in is apparantly at least one metre higher than the permitted level and that this is under investigation by the local authority. 


Abingdon, 24th August 2005.

See the Website photo they emailed

  As read out on the Bill Heine Programme 23rd August 2005.  

An Evening at Radley Lakes

On Sunday evening I stood watching wildfowl settling down for the night, a bird of prey flew overhead to its resting place in a nearby tree and bats started to feed off insects rising from the lake as light began to fall. The multitude of colours painting the sky as the sun set were reflected in the lake's calm waters. This vast, at times, multicoloured expanse of water has inspired many a local photographer and artist and will inspire future generations of artists to come.

These lakes and their wildlife undoubtedly give the community a sense of well-being and enhanced quality of life, as well as the sense of well-being that arises from being able to enjoy an evening stroll with friends around the health-giving atmosphere of these scenic lakes.

I am afraid a walk around the nearby lake filled with fly-ash by Npower definitely does not give me or the community a sense of well-being when we behold it, but a mounting sense of desperation at its desolation. Many of the community despair at its demise and the currently fenced off, concentration camp-like state in comparison to the Lake District beauty (minus the mountains, as we locals say) of the remaining Radley Lakes . They definitely do not view the fly-ash lake as an amenity to be enjoyed! It once was an enjoyable and beautiful lake before it became a stagnant fly-ash pit. This is why the community are against the destruction of their much loved remaining Lakes and, frankly, we are all very perplexed at Npower's reluctance to donate these lakes to the Abingdon and Radley communities to thank them for their endless tolerance over almost a quarter of a century of fly ash dumping and do the honorable thing and recycle their fly-ash!


  Copy of a letter of objection written by a member of the public  
xx Sunningwell,

Dear Mr Dudding,

I write to object and protest at the proposal to destroy what remains of Radley lakes with refuse from Didcot power station. I am well familiar with the area from regular recreational visits over a decade and more, and I know that it is a highly valued amenity to many local people. There are attractive public footpaths across and around the site, and very significant wild-life populations. I notice that the survey referred to in the documentation was carried out between March and July. It shows much of ecological importance, but doesn't include populations of migrant and wintering birds: I have observed many kinds of duck and waders there over the years.

Numerous technological and environmental objections to the Power Station's proposal have been made by others, especially the action group in Radley. There are evidently more efficient and safer ways of dealing with the waste products concerned. I wish to stress the unacceptable damage to this sensitive and fragile landscape so close to many homes, not just those in Radley itself, but the whole north Abingdon area - an area of so much recent building, domestic and industrial, that the Lakes form a vital lung for the whole neighbourhood.

The application to destroy the Lakes rests on a doubtful claim to permission dating back a quarter-century. But very much has changed since then; besides which the present proposal is a materially different one. Moreover, the undertakings given, earlier and now, to restore the landscape in due course can manifestly not be trusted. The lakes and wetlands previously filled or currently filling with ash remain an environmental disaster. And what of the cycle track between Abingdon and Oxford which is so much needed, yet continues to be denied us by the landowners? Altogether those who have owned or rented the terrain at Radley Lakes have taken much out of it and as yet put nothing back. I earnestly appeal to those with power of decision to respect the interests of the local community and wider guidelines of sustainable development by refusing this retrograde and ruinous application.

Yours sincerely,


  Letter published in the Oxford Mail 22nd August 05  

Work will 'leave habitats barren'

I was dismayed to read that RWE nPower are now trying to sell their ash disposal scheme in Radley as a project to create a nature reserve and conservation area (Oxford Mail, August 4).

This appears to be a cynical attempt to distract from the true nature of the project, which will result in the destruction of a valued local resource.

The lakes provide a significant range of habitats to many species, some of which are endangered, and many are rare. They have also been used for decades as a local amenity for walkers, birdwatchers, cyclists, fishermen and horse-riders.

The planned work will involve draining the lakes and filling them with ash, effectively rendering the site barren. The adjacent lakes which have already been destroyed are a grim indicator of how the area will be for years to come: fenced-in, desolate and toxic.

The proposal that the sites will one day (in decades) revert to some kind of normality is little comfort.

If Oxfordshire County Council allow work to proceed, it will be failing both the community and its responsiblity to protect the environment. It is only because the original application was submitted years before legislation about Environmental Impact Assessments came into force, that we are now faced with this situation.

Remember, formal objections must be submitted by August 30 to the director of environment and economy at the county council.


Foxborough Road


  I would like to add my voice to the campaign to save the lakes.

I live in Abingdon, and since I cycled past them on the Sustrans cycle route last year, and realised what a beautiful, peaceful spot they are now, I have visited the lakes regularly to walk and relax. 

I think it would be a terrible loss if they were filled in - I grew up in the area and remember 'the gravel pits' as a ramshackle area, but now they are beautiful and I believe they should be protected.

I have also written to the OCC and Environment Agency
- good luck in the campaign.

E.C. 7th August 2005 by email to Save Radley Lakes

I have made use of Radley Lakes since I first began working in the area, in 1987.
I later moved to Abingdon and have made regular use of the lakes for rambling, dog-walking, bird and wildlife watching.
More recently, I have taken up horse riding and have used the byway adjacent to the lakes for over a year. The byway is an important route because it's surface is suitable for horses (unlike the cycle-track).

J.R. 4th August 2005 by email to Save Radley Lakes


I have lived in the area for 12 years and have made recreational use of the lakes for all of that time.  Initially as a place to exercise 2 generations of dog and additionally over the last  4 years as somewhere to exercise my horse as well. 

I initially contacted OCC over the long term plans when the big central lake was first fenced off prior to filling.  I received one letter back but not much after that.

M.R. 3rd August 2005 by email to Save Radley Lakes.


My friends and I would walk down from Abingdon and visit the Radley Lakes regularly in the days before we had driving licences, to escape from the stress of A Level exam pressures and the like. Prior to that, my mum & dad would regularly take my brother & I on walks there as youngsters.  As a local, I value the Lakes as a place of outstanding beauty & of peace & quiet, which is becoming all too rare.

K.C. 3rd August 2005 by email to Save Radley Lakes


This proposal is the unlovely face of privatised industry which puts profit before social responsibility.
My only question is why this appalling destruction of natural habitats should ever even been thought of.

EPC 28th July 2005 to Npower at their Exhibition in Radley


Radley has been scarred by these gravelpits, and the infilling with Ash. As the other pits have all been filled it would have been good for the environment to retain this last pit for recreational pursuits. However we are aware that profit and future housing will probably win the day, but I do wish to add my protest.

Mrs JRD 28th July 2005 to Npower at their Exhibition in Radley


This sort of vandalism would disgrace even a third-world Country. Why do you think it is acceptable?   How come your parent Company in Germany recycles 95% of its fly ash whereas your business is so badly managed you barely manage to recycle a half? Shame on you, N Power.

Mrs MW 28th July 2005 to Npower at their Exhibition in Radley


Letter to the Oxford Times 22nd July

Following last week's correspondence in the Oxford Times concerning Didcot Power Station's plan to dump waste fuel ash in Radley, I wanted to raise the issue of why the people in Radley were sold a pup in 1982 and subsequently bought the whole litter in 2003 when Oxford County Council allowed corporate vandalism on a grand scale.


Together, the CEGB (now NPower) and the Council persuaded the people in Radley that there was no alternative to having the fuel ash dumped in the village. Npower promised to build a processing plant on land that they had acquired next to the power station. 23 years later it is being implemented, we are told. Why has it taken them so long.


They also had a big container at Didcot to store fuel ash but demolished it because Didcot B was to take over generating electricity. But Didcot A never came on line and they continued to burn cheap coal from abroad, but never rebuilt the waste container; the ash that it would have contained is about equal to that they now want dump. Why haven't they rebuilt the ash container?


Thames Water at Swindon told me they have bore holes at Didcot from which they draw water to pump the ash up to Radley. This is a huge volume to be taken from the area, particularly with threats of water shortage, how can they justify this practise. Thames Water, who allow them to take this water, is part of RWE NPower.


The reason for all this is Money. It has been cheaper for them and more beneficial for their shareholders to dump the ash in the ground.


It's time to call a halt.


Letter published in the Oxford Times 15th July

Somewhere in Oxfordshire there are high towers and windowless halls where great fires burn and engines turn in deafening cacophony, belching smoke and steam, casting shadows over the land.  Surrounded by impregnable defences, it is a landscape of desolation strewn with heaps of coal, slag, ashes and dust.

This could be a description of Tolkein's Mordor in "Lord of the Rings".  In fact, it is one of the aged coal-burning power stations unaffectionately known as Didcot-A.  There the parallels should end, but they do not.

Like Mordor, Didcot-A's destructive powers are far ranging.

Two beautiful lakes in Radley, the last of many, are threatened with brutal destruction to serve an unsustainable and unnecessary practice of dumping fuel ash.

That these lakes are fantastically rich in wildlife and enjoyed by the people means little to the powerful men who seem to have forgotten that somewhere beyond their desolate realm there may be some natural beauty left.

We all pay for our electricity, but are we aware of the full cost?

That every year, Didcot-A spews out into the atmosphere up to 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and 1,000 tonnes of ash is a price we may still be prepared to accept, albeit with growing reluctance.  But the destruction of these lakes is surely a price too high.

Their loss will impoverish us all and whatever remains in their place would be a permanent reminder of a grave travesty perpetrated not in the name of the people, but in the interests of convenience and profit.

This must not be allowed to happen.  Please support the campaign to save these lakes. 

To RWE NPower who operate Didcot-A, I say that it is to your eternal shame that you even considered perpetrating this act.

Radley has already taken enough of your ash and witnessed the wholesale destruction it causes.  It is time that you stopped and gave us something in return.


Letter published in the Oxford Times 15th July

The lakes at Radley

When I moved to this area 25 years ago the lakes at Radley were a stunning sight. These twelve established lakes with a profusion of wildlife were  breathtakingly beautiful and one of the reasons I chose to live in  During subsequent years however, RWE Npower has destroyed NINE of these lakes  by draining them and filling them with filthy flyash from the power station. They now wish to destroy the last two large lakes by giving them the same treatment!


This sort of environmental destruction would be shocking even in third world countries where there is little or no environmental awareness or protection, in a rich, prosperous country like Britain it is quite bizarre!  How on earth could this have been allowed for so long!


Apart from the loss of our lovely landscape there is an even more worrying consequence of filling these lakes and that is a reduction in the area of the flood plain. When previous lakes have been filled the lake edge has been  built up above the level of the surrounding ground thus reducing the land available to absorb flood waters. This means an increased risk of flooding both up and downstream from Radley. At a time when we are staring global warming in the face and flash floods are  becoming worryingly common it does seem just a little irresponsible to allow yet more damage to our local flood plain!


I would ask this large company not only to leave these two lakes alone but, if they own them, to give them to the people of the area as compensation for all those they have destroyed!  It would be a wonderful PR exercise and far more valuable to them than using the lakes as a very short term solution to their flyash disposal problems!


The Environment Agency recently came down like a ton of bricks on a man who wanted to build a patio outside his house.

"It is in the flood plain" they said. You can't do it!

A Planning Department made a man tear down his house because he had infringed building regulations.

When Didcot Power Station asked to dump a huge amount of fuel ash, which compromised the flood plain, the Environment Agency said, "Well alright, but make sure you put some flood defences in and we'll keep an occasional eye on the area”

When Didcot Power Station chopped down protected trees, destroyed protected species and overfilled lakes above agreed levels, Oxfordshire County Council decided they wouldn't prosecute RWE NPower because it would cost too much. They would let them get away with it. What double standards.

The Environment Agency and The County Council can bully members of the public but are frightened of the profit-seeking Companies whose global greedy schemes are hatched and executed without any thought of the inhabitants they are blighting.

The flood defences installed by RWE NPower are totally indadequate as was found in 2003 by residents in Radley, and the residents of Abingdon will be put at further risk when the Environment Agency, aided and abetted by Oxfordshire County Council, allow the two remaining lakes in Radley to be filled with fuel ash..

This is a wake-up call for all those people who have property near the River. You think you will be safe, but try getting compensation out of the Authorities when your Insurance Company won't cover you, and your house is under water. It has happened elsewhere



RWE NPower should be ashamed of themselves.

23 years ago they said they would build a recycling plant. Only recently have they started to do something about this, but it is too little too late. They also said they would build a container at Didcot to store the fuel ash for recycling. The land it was supposed to have been built on is now occupied by the little used Gas Powered Station. They never built the ash storage container from what I can ascertain from Oxford County Council. I thought it was a condition of the 1982 planning permission, but this seems to have escaped the attention of RWE NPower and the County Council Planning Enforcement Officers. They are continuing to burn coal because it is cheap - it is coming from China, South America and contains more heavy metals then the British Coal which was originally burnt at Didcot.

On contacting the Environment Agency, the officer responsible for the site indicated that he had not visited it for about three years.

I have raised issues with the EA concerning the risk of flooding and the toxic chemicals which are present in the ash. They have yet to reply.

I have written twice to Dr. Val Messenger who is the County Medical Health Officer at Wallingford raising concerns about the prohibition of fuel ash dumping in other Countries but have not had the courtesy of an acknowledgement let along a reply

We need to press these officials to take note of our objections.


Message sent to the Community Action Group for Waste Disposal - Sponsored by Oxfordshire County Council to promote initiatives for recycling.

Why have you not considered the implications of PFA from Didcot Power Station which, instead of being recycled is being dumped at Radley North of Abingdon? 
The Group seems to devote its activities to landfill of household rubbish.  This is landfill on just a grand a scale with toxic material which poses a threat to the environment for future generations.

Didcot Power Station could recycle this ash, if they chose.  However, it is
cheaper to dump it in the ground at Radley and destroy an environment which has remained untouched for 50 years.  London Power stations export their ash to Countries who do not have sufficient materials for production of concrete.  PFA makes excellent building blocks and sulphate resistant concrete. Once converted to slurry it loses its potential for recycling and is "Wasted".

Six weeks or more ago, a planning application was received from RWE Npower, by Oxford CC, seeking detailed Planning Permission to fill two of the last remaining lakes in Radley. This follows from conditional planning permission granted 23 years ago in 1982. As of 4th July, this application had not gone out to consultation. When it does People will then have just 3 weeks in which to respond.

 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 one of the lakes. The lakes are enjoyed by many people including walkers, naturalists, fishermen, and cyclists using the adjacent cycletrack. The lakes themselves are on the Thames floodplain and are being filled to above their original levels. This removes volume from the floodplain and raises floodwater levels affecting parts of SE Abingdon. The ash should not be being treated as waste. It is a useful material in the building industry. Didcot's record on recycling it is poor. The policy of
dumping and forgetting is unsustainable and damaging the environment.


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.

If RWE Npower had not destroyed a bund 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.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.

In 1982 they decided they needed to dispose of ash to landfill and four lakes were filled.  Later lakes were filled but the Authorities insisted that clay bunds be used to prevent leachate.  This meant huge construction effort was required, with further damage to the lake-side environment.  These bunds are compromising the floodplain.  RWE NPower who took over the operation of Didcot Power Station have, during their tenure, dumped more ash than the original estimates made by the CEGB who were the original body responsible for the Power Station.   In the course of trying to prevent the destruction of these Lakes, I have discovered that PFA is far from as safe is it has been purported to be, particularly when considered in the light of the huge quantities involved (several millions of tonnes) and the location of the site. The ash contains significant concentrations of heavy metals (lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium) including some that are radioactive (uranium) concentrated by the burning process.  These heavy metals are available to plants growing in the ash. These can be eaten by insects, birds and animals.  The contaminants are also bio-accumulative, which means that concentrations progressively become magnified. A significant component is water soluble. (2-5% is the figure given) This component, whatever it is is flowing directly into the Thames as runoff and is concentrated in leachate seeping from the lakes. The pure ash is highly toxic to species of mollusc and lugworm, used as pollution indicators. The problem of ash composition and contamination is compounded by the fact that coal is now sourced from anywhere in the world. Local people are outraged. The people involved in this campaign are not environmental fanatics. In fact we are ordinary local people from all walks of life.  No-one involved has done anything like this before. We all share a passion that these lakes should not be destroyed.

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