AN Abingdon girl's fears for the future of a favourite local beauty spot galvanised her into a solo protest.

Olivia Mann, aged nine, was horrified when she learned of plans to fill lakes at Radley with fuel ash from Didcot power station.

Her family, who live in Radley Road, Abingdon, had always used the area for cycle rides and walking the dog, and Olivia decided to do her bit to protect the peaceful spot.

Just before Christmas, she organised her own petition among Year 5 classmates at St Nicolas's junior school and when other pupils showed interest, she extended it to the rest of the school.

On Tuesday, a group of them travelled to Swindon to the headquarters of RWE npower to hand in the 190-name petition to the company's media and external affairs manager, Leon Flexman.

Olivia was accompanied by her mother, Jackie Mann, and brother, Finlay, aged seven, as well as several supporters of the long-running Save Radley Lakes campaign, who say there is sufficient space at a landfill site at Sutton Courtenay for the half-million tons of ash.

The campaigners are also trying to have the Thrupp and Bullfield lakes declared as town or village greens and have had their application accepted as "duly made" by Oxfordshire County Council.

The Save Radley Lakes group handed in their own 11,500-name petition to npower at Didcot last July.

SRL spokesman Marjorie White described the company's reaction to the pupils' petition as "muted", and said Olivia was "a star".

Mrs Mann said: "She did this off her own bat. We walk down there ourselves on a regular basis, and she asked what the campaign was all about.

"When she learned what they were planning to do, she was absolutely distraught and took it on herself to start this petition among her own classmates, and the rest of the school became interested and many signed. There would have been more names but for the Christmas holidays."