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RWE Npower Proposes New Restoration Plan for Radley Ash Fill Site


Lake H/I as it appeared following recent snowfall

on 07 February 2009.


RWE npower, in agreement with the landowner, has submitted a planning proposal (see notice below) for a new restoration plan for ‘Lake H’, which is eastern part of the large ash lagoon to the west of the mainline railway just to the south of the old Abingdon branch line (part of which is the C5 cycleway). The original restoration plan, approved in 2001, was to have this restored to “agriculture”, which would have meant covering the PFA with a thin layer of soil and seeding it with grass or whatever will grow there. It is unlikely that the land would have become suitable for any sort of productive agriculture for a good many years, if at all.




What npower is now proposing is to carry out an ecologically-led restoration of ‘Lake H’ at the eastern end. This will involve a sculpted PFA ‘dune’ landscape and a semi-permanent wetland area set in bare PFA. The plan resembles, in some respects, that originally proposed for ‘Lake E’ (Thrupp Lake) which will not now be implemented due to the fact that this lake has been saved from its erstwhile fate.


The plans for restoring the western end, ‘Lake I’, to ‘agriculture’ remain unchanged. However, a greater thickness of topsoil will be available, due to the fact that none will be needed for ‘Lake H’, which improves the prospect of the restoration of this part being successful.
While the new plans may not be entirely uncontroversial from a biodiversity point of view, they will result in substantially lower average levels across ‘lake H’ and will thus provide increased floodwater capacity on the Thames floodplain. This will doubtless remove some of the concerns that H/I has been overfilled to the detriment of the floodplain.


However the plans, even if approved, are unlikely to be implemented for some time. RWE Npower and the Environment Agency have first to be fully satisfied that the area is safe, and the Waste Management Licence has to be surrendered. No restoration can be done until that happens. However, many people would like to see this area tidied up and restored sooner rather than later
Even after the landscaping is carried out, it is likely to be many decades before the the restoration will come to full fruition. In the meantime, ecologists will be able to study the successional process of the natural (with possibly some human assistance) colonisation of a PFA landscape.



The area just to the North of H & I as it appeared on 7 February 2009.
Many people would like to see this area, which has become a dumping ground for old cars,
and a playground for delinquents on motorcycles, tidied up (and subsequently protected) as well.
The big mound in the distance will be the main source
of topsoil for the restoration of ‘Lake I’.


People should submit their comments on the proposal to Oxford County Council by 24th February in accordance with the above notice.

Other links relevant to this posting                              

Some Information on the Restoration of PFA

More About PFA


Permanent link to this article: http://www.radleyvillage.org.uk/rwe-npower-proposes-new-restoration-plan-for-radley-ash-fill-site/