Villagers urged to become ‘Erin Brockovich’ in pylon fight

A local campaigner has been urging people to fight against plans for pylons to be built that would “change the way we view our village forever”.

Great Waltham resident Anna Davies addressed a public meeting in Great Waltham about National Grid’s proposal to build pylons in the village.

In a video, she pointed out where 50-metre tall pylons will be built backing onto her home in Broads Green and urged people to take inspiration from Erin Brockovich – the American paralegal made famous by the Oscar-winning film of the same name – for her 1990s battle with Pacific Gas & Electric in California.

Ms Davies said: “We know our voice counts. We know we are not making a loud enough noise to go up against this conglomerate who are hosting consultations without any intent to listen or care about the people or their voices.

“This is like Great Waltham’s own version of Erin Brockovich. We can do this.”

A number of concerns have been raised about how the route passes through a narrow gap between Little and Great Waltham – including the effects it could have on the scheduled monument at Ash Tree Corner.

She added: “Can you envisage what that looks like here – the hum, the sight, the noise? The environment disruption is going to be huge and that is just a small part of the swathe of the plan.”

She said the biggest concern was the way the consultation has been carried out – a process she described as “tokenistic”.

“My biggest problem with it is the consultation is a joke really – in that it’s almost tokenistic.

“The biggest travesty of justice is that it’s a conglomerate organisation that are taking people for idiots.

“Here it is cutting the village in half, it is the lack of due diligence that frustrates me the most, it is cutting through areas of natural beauty and it doesn’t feel like there are any voices that are genuinely heard.”

A spokesperson for National Grid said: “The Norwich to Tilbury public consultations have generated a lot of interest, with more than 7,000 attendees at 40 in-person events and 17 webinars, with five further webinars planned next month. We have received more than 11,000 pieces of feedback so far, and numerous channels are available for communities and stakeholders to provide their feedback, including by email, letter, and both hard copy and online versions of the feedback form.

“We are very grateful to the local community and stakeholders who have already shared their views with us, and we encourage people to submit feedback until the consultation closes on July 26.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter