We have steered clear of judging the rights or wrongs of RWE npower's plans to fill Radley Lakes with ash, preferring to report the important issues raised by the debate and leave our readers to make up their own minds.

We do not propose to change that stance, which is one that we quite rightly maintain on most of the issues we report on.

However, we cannot let RWE npower's heavy-handed approach this week pass without comment.

Balaclava-clad security guards at the lakes have provoked a lot of concern among local people who have accused them of heavy-handed tactics. The company has every right to protect its interests against a minority of extremists but it has shown little discrimination this week.

While it may find the activities of Save Radley Lakes irritating, the group is not extreme - it is made up of respected members of the local community.

The clincher this week was RWE npower's recourse to a draconian court order seeking to limit protest at the site. Not only has this order been served on those involved in squatting at Radley Lakes but also on Dr Peter Harbour, a respected member of the community and a key Save Radley Lakes campaigner.

The order also impels Save Radley Lakes to post a copy of the order on its website.

The court's decision to grant RWE npower an injuntion raises important issues of freedom of speech and the right to protest. We are not aware of any evidence that those working for or on behalf of RWE npower face anything like the sort of threat that those associated with animal laboratories do.

As for the idea that RWE npower should need to resort to these measures to protect itself from Save Radley Lakes, it would be laughable, if there were not serious cause for concern for every protest group in the country.