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Top Environmentalist visits Radley Lakes

and Calls upon Oxfordshire County Council to Revoke Planning Decision


On Tuesday, Tony Juniper, Director of Friends of the Earth and a leading international environmentalist, paid a visit to the Radley Lakes to see for himself the destruction being wreaked on the area by the dumping of pulverised fuel ash (PFA) from the coal-fired power station at Didcot. Mr Juniper has fond memories of the Radley Lakes from 30 years ago when he regularly visited them as a child. He was dismayed at the destruction of so many once beautiful lakes and accused RWE npower of hypocrisy in claiming to be environmentally conscientious and yet willing to commit an act of environmental vandalism and desecration by destroying Thrupp Lake.




Tony Juniper


In January this year, RWE npower, who operate the Didcot power stations, received planning permission from Oxfordshire County Council to dump waste pulverised fuel ash into a 10 hectare lake, a naturally restored gravel pit, at Radley, much to the dismay of the local community who fervently wish to preserve the remaining lakes for their, beauty, their amenity value and their profuse wildlife. [See News Story] Since then, the campaign to save the lakes, now in its third year, has continued unabated and is receiving more and more support from various quarters. Today it was Tony Juniper, internationally recognised environmentalist and Director of Friends of the Earth, who offered his support to the campaign to save the lakes and to promote less damaging and more sustainable ways of disposing of waste ash. He condemned the power station operators for their lazy and careless attitude to the problem.



In a statement, he said “RWE npower should find more responsible and appropriate ways of dealing with its waste .Filling these lakes with ash is a lazy and outdated practice. They would not be able to do this in Germany where they are based. Why do they think they can do it here?

These lakes are of enormous importance for both local people and wildlife and the company needs to respect that or it will forever be in the environmental hall of shame.

Tony Juniper has a personal interest in the Radley Lakes, as they were a childhood haunt of his, one which gave him the opportunity to learn about and to appreciate first hand the natural environment and wildlife it sustains. Speaking of Thrupp Lake , he said “For me, as a child, this lake was really an outdoor classroom. I used to do a lot of bird watching, studying of plants and fishing here; it was a wonderful place, and it still is. A lot of the wildlife is still here. I think such beautiful places are now so precious, especially as more of the countryside comes under threat from road building, industrial development, retail development and, of course, local housing. Protecting places like this into the future is going to be a really important part of maintaining this country’s quality of life.”

Places like the Radley Lakes are of enormous importance, not only for their wildlife, but because they are near to urban areas, which means they provide places where children and everybody else can easily go to experience natural habitats for themselves.”

It would be very sad if kids in the future did not have that opportunity merely so that the place could be turned into a toxic waste dump.




Tony Juniper gazes across Thrupp Lake remembering happy times spent this place


He called upon Oxfordshire County Council to revoke the planning consent, and for local bodies to look hard at how The Lakes could be turned into a nature park for future generations.



Speaking of the wider picture, he said “One of the things that is really important about this particular case is the way in which the Developer, in this case RWE Npower, has managed to convince the County Council to do what it wanted. There are big lessons there for the whole country in terms of the role of local communities in shaping the decisions that affect people – because Big Business has too much of an ear in determining development priorities. This is becoming even more important now. More power going to be passed to Big Business, if the Government has its way, with the new planning white paper that it is currently debating. This means that there is every reason for people like me to become involved in grass roots campaigns like this, because, in the end, they will determine how the national picture will pan out as well.  
Dr Basil Crowley, Chairman of Save Radley Lakes, said “We wholeheartedly welcome Tony Juniper’s support for our campaign. We hope that government will take heed of what he says, and show its commitment to the environment by admitting that mistakes have been made here and, most particularly, by reversing the decision to allow RWE npower to destroy a wonderful and valued piece of Oxfordshire countryside, just to provide RWE npower with a convenient means of disposing of its waste. This is waste that, in fact, could be and should be recycled sustainably for the benefit of the environment generally, and for the Radley Lakes.  
An application to have the two threatened lakes declared a Town Green, under the 1965 Commons Registration Act, is currently underway. [See News Story] The Public Inquiry to determine this resumes on Wednesday 20th June, at Radley College . If this is successful, RWE npower will be forced to find other, hopefully environmentally less damaging, ways of disposing of the ash. If not, the fate of The Lakes is firmly in the hands of RWE npower, unless Government feels able to take responsibility for, and to remedy, the situation.  



Other links relevant to this posting:



Related Stories:


The fight goes to Europe:

Herald 5 June 2007

Oxford Times 5 June 2007

Permanent link to this article: http://www.radleyvillage.org.uk/top-environmentalist-visits-radley-lakes/