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Stonehenge road tunnel plan: Stonehenge Alliance statement

12 January 2017

The Government has today confirmed plans for a road tunnel past Stonehenge, and has announced a consultation on the proposals. The Campaign to Protect Rural England endorses the below statement from the Stonehenge Alliance

 

THE STONEHENGE ALLIANCE [1]
Statement 11 January 2017

Options consultation on A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down Improvement

The Stonehenge Alliance is aware that the consultation on options for widening the A303 across the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS) is to be announced shortly and wishes to make the following statement.

We trust that options for widening the A303 will include solutions that would do no further damage to the WHS. We expect to see convincing evidence that will justify road widening and the enormous public expenditure involved at this time of particular financial constraint and uncertainty.

The Alliance does not advocate new road building at Stonehenge but accepts the need to improve the tranquillity and appearance of the WHS and its setting. If Government insists on widening the A303 by means of a tunnel across the WHS it must be sufficiently long to avoid any further damage to the WHS and its setting.

The 27 sq.km of archaeologically rich landscape surrounding the Stones is recognised to be of outstanding universal value to mankind, and its protection must be the priority. Numerous discoveries have been made within the WHS as well as on its boundaries including important evidence of a Mesolithic settlement at Blick Mead [2] next to the A303.

George McDonic, Chairman of the Alliance, says:
“The recent archaeological discoveries around Stonehenge underline the obvious importance of safeguarding the whole of this ancient landscape for future generations. We have been greatly encouraged by worldwide support for our campaign.”

Reservations have arisen about how genuine the A303 consultation may be since Government has already announced funding for road widening, to include a 2.9km twin-bored tunnel under only a part of the 5.4km-wide WHS archaeological landscape[3].The Alliance is campaigning against such a tunnel since it would cause substantial damage and fall well short of Government’s commitment to protection of the whole WHS under the UNESCO World Heritage Convention[4]. We sincerely hope that UNESCO will press the UK Government to honour that obligation.

The Stonehenge Alliance will be taking part in forthcoming consultations.

ENDS

Notes for Editors
[1] The Stonehenge Alliance is supported by: Ancient Sacred Landscape Network, Campaign for Better Transport, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Friends of the Earth, and RESCUE: The British Archaeological Trust. http://stonehengealliance.org.uk/our-campaign/about-us/
[2] Mesolithic site close to the WHS boundary. http://www.buckingham.ac.uk/research/hri/blickmead.
[3] Announced in Parliament on 1 December 2014.
[4] 1972 World Heritage Convention, notably Article 4. http://whc.unesco.org/en/conventiontext/.

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