“It is like going back 150 years. Nothing tells you that you are living in the 21st century. Giant pylons would immediately announce the fact.” Artist backs campaign
12:25 22 November 2012
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2010
Artist David Dane has painted the Broads in all its moods and seasons through four decades and is adamant that interrupting its views with giant pylons would be “sacrilege”.
Broads: The facts
A recent study by the UEA revealed that the Broads is a haven for an astonishing quarter of the UK’s rarest species. No less than 11,000 different species live there and 66 are unique to the Broads.
More than 440 different plant species, many of which are rare or cannot be found anywhere else in Britain, grow in the fens and more than 200 species of invertebrates have been recorded in marsh dykes.
The Yare and Waveney valleys make up part of the Ramsar site in the Broads – the most important international conservation designation. There are 11 sites of special scientific interest in the Yare and Waveney valleys.
The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads has the status of a national park, which carries the highest level of protection. It is Britain’s largest protected wetland and third largest inland waterway.
The Broads is made up of 122 miles of waterways, six rivers and 64 broads – a mosaic of waterways, miles of open grazing marshes, fens, reed beds and wet woodlands. The total area is 303 sq kms.
The charm of the southern rivers is that they are remote wilderness, free from urban clutter. They are famous for their vast open skies, where you can see to the horizon, and amazing sunsets.
Most popular sports are boating, fishing, cycling and walking.
Long distance walks include Wherryman’s Way, 35 miles from Norwich to Great Yarmouth along the Yare and the Angles Way which leads from Great Yarmouth along the River Waveney to Beccles.
Up to 100,000 boating visitors come to the Broads each year, on 1,000 hire boats, bringing in £95 million.
Backing the EDP’s Say No to Pylons campaign, he has joined a growing list of countryside champions who have pledged to fight possible plans for a 25-mile power line from Lowestoft to Norwich, which would dominate the skyline of the southern Broads. Today, we are asking readers to support our campaign by signing the form below and sending it back to us.
While National Grid says detailed route options will not be revealed to the public until next summer, it is feared that both the Waveney and Yare valleys could be affected.
A spokesman yesterday confirmed it was looking at ways of providing a connection from the East Anglia One windfarm – to be built off the Suffolk coast – to the national grid.
Mr Dane lives on the edge of Sutton Fen, on the Northern Broads, but has a special passion for the Waveney Valley.
He said: “It is very beautiful and the most unspoiled part of the Broads, less commercialised than the northern Broads.
“Parts of the area are timeless and any suggestion of massive pylons is sacrilege. It is not on.
“The big thing the Broads has to offer is its visual impact. It is a tourist attraction we have to treasure.
“Lots of people live there and make their living there and it is a habitat for rare and valuable wildlife.”
Mr Dane, who launches his latest exhibition of prints at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden in South Walsham on Saturday, said the Waveney Valley had a “real atmosphere all of its own”.
He said: “Many an evening I have moored up on the river bank and it is like going back 150 years. Nothing tells you that you are living in the 21st century. Giant pylons would immediately announce the fact.
“One of the great prizes of the Broads is its timeless quality.”
Briant Smith, vice-chairman of Broads Tourism, said pylons across parts of the southern Broads would be nothing short of a “disaster”.
He said: “In terms of visual impact it would be important, and anything that detracts from the area’s natural beauty at a time when Broads Tourism is trying to encourage more use of the southern Broads would be very unhelpful to say the least.”
Mr Smith, who hosts guided walks on the Broads through his business, Broads Spirituality, said he was amazed that pylons could even be contemplated across an area that was part of the family of national parks.
Allan Jones, of Norfolk Ramblers’ Association, said building pylons would go against his society’s code – one pillar of which is to preserve the beauty of the countryside.
He said: “I live in King’s Lynn and we’ve already got huge pylons coming across the Wash and they’re very unsightly – particularly near the coast where we have been trying our best to keep these unsightly things away.”
The spectre of pylons on the Broads was first raised in the EDP in July last year, but the story gathered momentum at the weekend with the publication of National Grid’s latest connections update document regarding the third phase of the East Anglia One windfarm project.
John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk District Council, said the right thing was to work with National Grid to make sure the project developed in the most appropriate way.
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