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Last Updated: Monday, 18 February 2008, 14:12 GMT
Power plant u-turn over waste ash
Radley lakes, courtesy of Jo Cartmell
Campaigners tried to get Radley Lakes village green status
The operators of a power station in Oxfordshire have announced a u-turn in their plan to dump waste coal ash into nearby lakes.

RWE Npower planned to pump waste from Didcot Power Station into Radley Lakes but faced fierce opposition from enviromental groups.

Last month the county council refused to give the lakes, between Radley and Abingdon, protected status.

RWE Npower has now said the scheme is not needed in the short term.

In a statement the company said its decision was down to the recent successes of its "ash recycling and reuse programme".

We will keep the situation under constant review
John Rainford
Didcot Power Station manager

It said it was "deferring its plan" to fill the lakes with coal ash.

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

"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."

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."

Judicial review

He added that it meant the power station was able to put the use of the lakes "on hold for the time being".

"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," he said.

"It is still too early to say whether we can avoid having to use [the lakes] before the station's closure by end of 2015, but we will of course keep the local community up to date on developments," he added.

Last month Oxfordshire County Councillors voted 10 to four in favour of refusing to give village green status to the 12-hectare (30-acre) site.

The Save Radley Lakes campaign group said it would pursue a judicial review.

RWE Npower was given planning permission in January 2007 to pump ash into the lakes but the village green application halted the operation and a public inquiry was held.

Power plant can dump ash in lakes
14 Jan 08 |  Oxfordshire
Waste ash lake green bid rejected
16 Oct 07 |  Oxfordshire
Ash lake petition handed to No 10
05 Apr 07 |  Oxfordshire
Public inquiry for waste ash lake
22 Feb 07 |  Oxfordshire
Lake protesters evicted from site
06 Feb 07 |  Oxfordshire

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