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Npower Grants Reprieve to Radley Lakes

Today, RWE npower issued the following press release

Upturn in market for recycled ash helps put Radley scheme on hold


RWE npower is deferring its plan to fill Thrupp Lake near Radley with coal ash from Didcot Power Station.


The company says that the recent successes of its ash recycling and reuse programme have meant the Thrupp Lake scheme is not needed in the short term.


Recently npower has secured new contracts to recycle the Didcot ash for use in industry, including road-building projects.


Other factors have also contributed to the deferral. Milder weather conditions over two successive winters have resulted in less power than normal being generated at Didcot, which has in turn reduced the amount of ash produced on site.


Changing energy market conditions may also mean a more evenly-distributed rate of coal ash production in the run up to the Station’s closure, due by the end of 2015, making the volumes more manageable.


John Rainford, Manager of Didcot Power Station said: “This is good news.  We have always worked very hard to find the best ash solutions and we’ll continue to do so.  As a result of our efforts we’ve managed to take advantage of a stronger market for ash re-use.  This means we are now able to put the use of Thrupp Lake on hold for the time being.


We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and we will always look for opportunities to minimise the impact of what we do.  We will keep the situation under constant review, but we won’t be progressing immediately with the construction work that would be required before ash disposal could commence on site.


It is still too early to say whether we can avoid having to use Thrupp Lake before the station’s closure by end of 2015, but we will of course keep the local community up to date on developments,” he said.


Responses to this announcement have been mixed, ranging from jubilation to downright cynicism.


Save Radley Lakes, which has been running a strenuous campaign for nearly 3 years to stop npower destroying the Lakes, cautiously welcomed npower’s announcement. Chairman, Dr Basil Crowley, said


“Even though it does not go as far as we would like, this is a very significant statement by npower. It is the first time that they have admitted that they might not need Thrupp Lake after all. However we have to pay some heed to their timing, coming as it does just as a judicial review of Oxfordshire’s recent decision not to register the area as a town green is about to be launched. (See News Story) and we also have to question the substance of the announcement. In effect, npower are saying that they don’t need the lake yet. It is already too late for them to start work this spring, because of the bird nesting season. We sincerely hope that they are not merely using the fact that they have not scheduled work to begin immediately as a ploy to try to head off the threat of a judicial review.”

“Under the European Large Combustion Plant Directive, the power station has to close by 2015, and can only operate for 20,000 hours from the beginning of this year. The maximum amount of ash they can produce is therefore limited by that fact. Every day that passes when they don’t need to Thrupp Lake reduces the likelihood that they will ever need it in the future. There will eventually come a time that there won’t be enough ash available to fill the lake as planned. When that point comes, the lake will be safe. Until then, or until npower commit themselves to saving it for posterity, the threat of infilling remains, hanging over the lake like a Sword of Damocles.”

“Save Radley Lakes has always questioned why a valuable resource, with a myriad of possible uses, should be sent irretrievably to landfill. Npower have now responded positively to that criticism and we welcome that.”

“However, until npower offer a permanent solution, the campaign must go on.”


Commenting on the announcement, Dr Evan Harris, Liberal Democrat MP  for Oxford West and Abingdon said, 


“I am delighted at this news as will be my constituents who love the  lakes as a local beauty spot.” 


“Save Radley Lakes deserve huge praise for their campaign – which not only opposed the plan to fill the lakes but did fantastic work pointing out less environmentally damaging alternatives.”


“What we now need is clarification from RWE npower on a number of issues such as how quickly they will make good the site, how long they can guarantee that the lakes will not be filled, and – given the planned closure in 2015 – when they can give local people the assurance that we seek that the lakes can be used in perpetuity?”

Meanwhile, in Radley, the parish council is consulting residents to seek their support in pursuing a judicial review of Oxfordshire County Council’s recent decision not to grant town green status to the lakes (see story). A ballot of households is currently being held, asking people if they would support a judicial review by the parish council. Voting forms have been distributed to every household in the parish and must be returned by Monday 25th February.

Other links relevant to this posting                               

BBC Politics Show 02 March 2008

Marjorie White in the Oxford Mail 01 March 2008

Basil Crowley in the Oxford Mail 01 March 2008

Bob Cowley in the Oxford Times 29 February 2008

Andy Boddington in the Oxford Mail 23 February 2008

Nicola Blackwood in the Oxford Mail 22 February 2008

The Guardian 20 February 2008

Oxford Mail leader 19 February 2008

Oxford Mail 19 February 2008

Rye and Battle Observer 19 February 2008

Helen Margolis and Phil Kennedy, Radio Oxford 19 February 2008

Oxford Lib Dems 18 February 2008

Fox FM

Oxford Times 18 February 2008

Herald 18 February 2008

Oxford Mail 18 February 2008

BBC News 18 February 2008

Marjorie White of Save Radley Lakes on the Bill Heine programme, Mon 18 February 2008

Leon Flexman of RWE npower on the Bill Heine programme, Mon 18 February 2008

Save Radley Lakes

Permanent link to this article: http://www.radleyvillage.org.uk/npower-grants-reprieve-to-radley-lakes/