Update: Save Radley Lakes campaign.

This dropped into my ‘inbox’ this morning;

Government response to petition ‘SaveRadleyLakes’

The e-petition asking the Prime Minister to “Stop foreign-owned utility companies from ruining the British countryside” (in this case, npower) is ongoing. This is an updated response in advance of the closing date from the Government.

Each planning application is considered on its own matters and against the relevant local and national planning policies. The portfolio of national policy includes policies designed to protect the countryside as set out in Planning Policy Statement 7 (PPS7: Sustainable Development in Rural Areas).

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government was required to consider RWE npower’s application to dispose of pulverised fuel ash at Thrupp Lake and did so against the appropriate planning policies. On 16th October 2006 she decided not to call-in the proposal for a Public Inquiry.

Oxfordshire County Council granted conditional planning permission on 5th January 2007 for ‘a new bunded ash lagoon in existing ‘Lake E’ gravel pit including construction of new ash lagoon, including working clay from the bottom of the existing lake to form an impermeable lining to the sides of the new lagoon; filling the new lagoon with pulverised fuel ash; restoration of nature conservation; deposit of silt and slurry from Lake E to Lake G; and pipe and drainage work’.

10 of the conditions attached to the permission required compliance before development commenced. 3 of these conditions are still outstanding and are in the hands of Oxfordshire County Council. The Planning and Regulation Committee resolved that they will determine them; their next meeting is on 16 July 2007. As the conditions precedent have not all been complied with yet, works cannot commence. Trees have been felled but these works do not require planning permission.

Oxfordshire County Council advise that no other work has commenced on site. The house next to the site has been occupied by security staff and three portacabins were erected on the driveway. The Vale of White Horse District Council has been alerted as such activity may require permission from them.

The compliance with conditions is a local matter and since planning permission has already been granted the Secretary of State cannot intervene.

The upshot of all that is we have councillors deciding on big decisions on local environmental impacts. Are they capable? I really doubt it.

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9 Responses to Update: Save Radley Lakes campaign.

  1. Pete Smith says:

    Yeah, I think everyone who signed the ‘Save Radley Lakes’ e-petition will have got the same message. Doesn’t do the government any favours, exposing their lack of will to do the right thing to an audience of thousands.
    The sad thing is that there’s no need for the ash to get dumped in the lakes in the first place. There are current technologies that can make perfectly good building bricks and aggregate out of fly ash.


  2. matt says:

    Doesn’t this government sound tired. But then having a leader at the moment more interested in a glory tour probably doesn’t help.

  3. Pete Smith says:

    Dunno who’s more tired, the government or the public. To be fair, a lot of the blame lies with our archaic planning system and the powers it provides, or denies in this case.

  4. matt says:

    Well that tired planning system is about to get a big shake up. Regional planning bodies will make most of the big decisions I believe. And those that want to add a wind turbine or solar panels will be able to with little planning interference. Will be interesting to see how things pan out.

  5. Dave On Fire says:

    I believe the loosening of planning regulations is mainly intended to allow more sprawling suburbs to be built on the greenbelt. Didn’t Prescott once say “The greenbelt is one of [New Labour’s] proudest acheivements, and we are determined to build on it” 😛
    Bad planning systems are perhaps worse than none at all, but the point of planning interference is to protect common resources – like the greenbelt, and the Radley Lakes – from exploitation profitable to the few but tragic for the many.
    Out of interest, what is the closing date for the petition? Gimme the link and I’ll sign.

  6. Pete Smith says:

    The petition expires on September 10th. Find it here:


  7. Dave On Fire says:


  8. matt says:

    Dave, you’re on fire today. 🙂

  9. Lakesaver says:

    Please send the link round to all your friends and ask them to sign.

    NPower tried to get the petition removed, hence the Government Weasel Words.

    Ruth Kelly’s Department DCLOG as it is known, refused to call in the planning application for a public inquiry and the weasels in Oxfordshire County Council did not have the backbone to take on NPower. This Corporate Bully say they will have to close the power station unless they use Thrupp Lake for their ash. However, they said that two years ago or more, and have not stopped generating ash or profits for their shareholders with only a token gesture towards the environment.

    Also switch from NPower electricity – hit them where it hurts! in the financial figures and let them know of the disapproval of their scheme conceived in ignorance and delivered in error to destroy Thrupp Lake.

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