RESIDENTS who say they used an Oxfordshire lake for swimming, kite-flying and horse-riding are probably mistaken, an energy company claimed on Friday.

RWE npower's property services manager John Norton told the final day of a public inquiry in Radley that many recreational activities could not have taken place on land owned by his company.

Mr Norton was giving evidence for the energy firm, which wants to fill Thrupp Lake with spent fuel ash from Didcot Power Station.

Protest group Save Radley Lakes is trying to win town or village green status for Thrupp and Bullfield Lakes to halt the plans.

Campaigner Jo Cartmell must prove the land has been used by the public for recreational purposes 'as of right' for 20 years.

Dozens of witnesses have given evidence claiming people have used the lakes for boating, canoeing, jet-skiing, swimming, bird watching, angling and walking.

But on Friday, the third day of the resumed inquiry, Mr Norton said: "There's some confusion as to the extent of the application land. Many of the activities identified as having been carried out on the application land are extremely unlikely to have been carried out on land which is in the ownership of npower.

"Given the location of the boundaries, kite-flying, cycling and horse-riding could not have taken place on npower's land.

"Thrupp Lake has been used since the mid-1960s for water-skiing and jet-skiing.

"This supports the assertion that little or no swimming has taken place in this period.

"These activities would have meant swimming was dangerous."

He added the lake's two previous owners had been keen to keep it private and had tried to discourage trespassers.

And he said it was also unlikely that Thrupp Lake had been used for boating, barbecues, blackberry picking, ball games and walking - adding such activities probably took place on public highways or land at other nearby lakes.

He said: "Recreational activities have not taken place on this land and the area is wholly inappropriate for designation as a town green.

"Recreational walking, cycling or bird watching - the evidence is not specific as to date, time, duration or location. Much, if not all, of the activities referred to probably took place outside the boundaries of the application land."

Earlier in the inquiry, campaigner Roger Thomas disputed evidence that people had not used the lakes - saying the view was blocked from a neighbouring house by trees.

The seven-day inquiry, which began in April but was adjourned half-way through, has now ended.

Both sides will submit closing statements to planning inspector Vivian Chapman in writing.

He will then write a report recommending whether all - or part - of the site should be designated as a town or village green.

The findings will be sent to Oxfordshire County Council, which will then make a final decision on the application.

RWE npower, which was granted permission to dump spent fuel ash in Thrupp Lake in January, says it intends to undertake preliminary works on the site during the summer, predominantly outside the application area.

The company said it believed there was sufficient time for the issue to be resolved before major works "needed to commence" in the autumn.