Monday, March 12, 2007

550 March to Save Radley Lakes



500 men, women and children* attended a rally outside the Guildhall in Abingdon and marched to the Radley Lakes to protest about the plans by RWE npower to fill Thrupp Lake with 500,000 tonnes of fuel ash from Didcot 'A' Power Station. About 40 cyclists, who joined the march along its route, and a contingent of Greens dressed as frogs took part in the event, which was organised by Save Radley Lakes.

The rally was addressed by local MP Dr Evan Harris; Councillor Peter Green, Mayor of Abingdon; Andy Boddington, campaign organiser for the CPRE; Adrian Arbib, a journalist; Dr Basil Crowley, chairman of Save Radley Lakes; and others. Entertainment was staged by the children of Radley Primary School, and by the npower Goon Show brought to you by Save Radley Lakes' very own Len Lambe

Dr Harris said that it should be inconceivable that, in this day and age, waste from power stations should be dumped in this way. He said that he would personally be taking steps to try to ensure that power stations recycled their waste ash properly and not simply take, what is to them, the simplest and cheapest option. He wanted the full environmental costs of the various options to be taken into account when making choices.

Peter Green defended his right to stand against something that was wrong. He said "When something is wrong - and this is wrong - you've got to stand and be counted to stop it." He said that saving the Radley Lakes from further destruction was for "our kids and our kids' kids."

Adrian Arbib, a professional press photographer and journalist, recounted his experiences at the hands of the Goons and origins and repercussions of npower's injunction. He said " In 20 years of photographing civil rights, I've never seen such a draconian and aggressive piece of legislation as the one that we have here."

Basil Crowley called upon government to put an end to the obnoxious practice [of ash dumping] and ensure that all ash is recycled or kept available for future recycling. He said that curbs had to be put on the financial and legal leverage exerted by large utility corporations, since, at the moment they are out of control and not accountable to anyone except their (mainly foreign) shareholders, and are able to flout planning and other regulations with virtual impunity.

Not everybody managed to complete the 4 mile trek which ended up at the Bowyers Arms in Radley. Those who did, whilst enjoying a well-earned drink and partaking of refreshments specially provided, took part in a competition of poems and songs about the Radley Lakes and npower's antics organised by Len Lambe. (See www.saveradleylakes.org.uk for examples)

*503 marchers were counted in Barton Lane by an official teller. The march was joined at the lakes by over 40 cyclists, bringing the total to over 540. The march was also attended by a good number of photographers and journalists covering the event, who tracked the march without necessarily following the official route.

View slideshow of event


UPDATE
11/3/07: npower announced that work at the lakes has stopped because a coot's nest has been discovered on Thrupp Lake, and, since bird's nests cannot be disturbed when in use, work has had to cease. A likely story, as if we are supposed to believe that they care! What, we ask, about the swans and the kingfishers, whose nests were also active but destroyed nevertheless? Oh, of course, that was before the first of March, so the nests couldn't have been in use!

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