PROTESTERS wore gags and dressed as frogs as the campaign to stop fuel ash being dumped into Thrupp Lake in Radley gathered pace at the weekend.

More than 150 campaigners marched to the lakes on Saturday and became silent as they neared the lake, which is set to be filled with spent fuel ash from Didcot Power Station.

Some wore gags in protest at the High Court injunction granted to lakes owner RWE npower last week which restricted where people could protest.

Others dressed as frogs to highlight their claim that the creatures' habitat would be destroyed.

The protest was led by the Oxfordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England with Save Radley Lakes, which wants Thrupp Lake to be given town green status and protected from the development.

They were joined along the way by dog walkers and cyclists who supported the cause.

The march heard from Basil Crowley, of Save Radley Lakes - one of the people named on npower's injunction.

He showed protesters some of the clearance work npower has already done at the site.

Dr Crowley said: "What you have seen is the result of the devastating and brutal activities of a company that is uncaring and totally heartless.

"They don't care for the environment."

He said the aim of the march was to protest against the plans to dump ash and to exercise people's civil liberties Alison Prewitt, who is on the Save Radley Lakes committee, said: "We have a civil liberties issue because we feel our right to protest is being stifled by npower.

"The injunction they have taken out makes it virtually impossible to even walk around Radley Lakes.

"We feel sorrow about the destruction that has already taken place and anger that we are so totally helpless in the face of npower."

Marchers set off at 1.15pm, progressing along Thrupp Lane and past the eastern edge of Thrupp Lake.

Abingdon mayor Peter Green was among the marchers. He said: "What npower is doing is a piece of environmental vandalism and I think they have handled it disgracefully."

As the march reached the side of the lake, an unidentified man, dressed in a fluorescent jacket and covering his face with a balaclava, emerged from behind the fence and began filming the crowd.

Dr Bob Eeles, who was on the march with his family, said: "I'd like to know why Oxfordshire County Council is allowing npower to replace the best wildlife site in the county with five million metric tons of waste.

"On Thursday, I was harassed and intimidated by masked people on a public highway who were randomly handing out injunctions to anybody who happened to pass by."

After reaching the fence, protesters covered their mouths with gags and walked in silence to symbolise their view that the protest was being stifled.

Several dressed as frogs, as campaigners believe frogs' habitats will be destroyed.

After reaching the side of the lake, the protesters heard speeches from Roger Thomas and Alison Prewitt.

Police officers attended, but the protest remained peaceful and there were no clashes or arrests made.

Andy Boddington, from the Oxfordshire branch of the CPRE, said: "It was a very successful and peaceful march attended by people all all age groups.

"There is anger across the board.

"We are outraged at what has gone on here already.

"They have devastated trees and vegetation."

RWE npower spokesman Leon Flexman said: "I am pleased that the protesters came along and made their views known in a peaceful way.

"It is not our intention stop people protesting lawfully."