Still Waters Run Deep
1st November, 2006
Npower, owner of the UK's third largest coal-fired power station, says it will have to black out two million customers if it can't fill this lake with poisonous ash. Paul Kingsnorth investigates
As we stand looking out over Thrupp Lake, it begins to rain. The rain shakes the leaves of the oaks and the willows, and frays the surface of the water. Canada geese and swans look unconcerned as the five of us put up the hoods on our raincoats and huddle under the trees.
It’s a strangely tranquil place. A 30-acre lake, bristling with wildlife, surrounded by mature trees and studded with islands on which waterfowl nest and gather – you could imagine, standing here, that there was not another human being for miles. Yet we are standing in one of the most populated parts of south-east England, only minutes away from housing estates, motorways and – ominously – one of the country’s biggest coal-fired power stations.
With me are four local residents, who know and love this quiet, unassuming, unspectacular but beautiful place. They walk their dogs here, come here to think, to watch wildlife or just catch a breath of air. They live nearby and, as new housing estates, business parks, road widening schemes and the vagaries of breakneck ‘development’ hem them in further every year, Thrupp Lake has become a refuge.
“There are a lot of people living round...
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