Highways England has announced a 7-week consultation on widening the A303 with a single 2.9km (1.8mile) tunnel option for the World Heritage Sites (WHS).
The consultation documents can be seen here: https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/cip/a303-stonehenge/, and include maps, videos and a questionnaire for public feedback.
An easy-to-use standard response letter can be accessed at http://stonehengealliance.org.uk/act-now/write-to-highways-england/. We urge readers to make their views known before 5 March.
Rescue is a member organisation and strong supporter of the Stonehenge Alliance. The Stonehenge Alliance has been campaigning against the short tunnel scheme since it was announced by the Government in December 2014. Please see here (http://stonehengealliance.org.uk/) for more details of the Alliance, their concerns and links to useful information.
The Alliance’s principal concerns at present are:
- The tunnel is too short – the World Heritage Site is 5.4km/3.4 miles wide – the tunnel is only 2.9km/1.8 miles long
- Serious damage will be caused to the archaeology and landscape in direct contravention of national planning policy and the World Heritage Convention
- No options are offered to protect the whole World Heritage Site
- The scheme is detrimental to wildlife, especially the RSPB reserve for Stone Curlew
- £1.4bn expenditure won’t solve the traffic problems
- The consultation period is too short
More information is given in Alliance website blogs (http://stonehengealliance.org.uk/).
A £1.4bn road development within a World Heritage Site anywhere in the UK – one which involved significant archaeological damage – would be unacceptable to the vast majority of the interested public. THIS SCHEME IS NO DIFFERENT! The scheme will involve huge excavation work for the entrance and exits to the tunnel. The fact that it is being described as being beneficial to Stonehenge, ignores the significance and importance of the protected surrounding landscape and ignores the knowledge and expertise of countless archaeologists and heritage practitioners. The scheme proposes irreversible damage to the Stonehenge landscape and context, and threatens our ability to investigate, understand, manage and enjoy the site properly in the future.
There are alternative solutions to the problems of managing traffic through the Stonehenge area. We urge the Government to reconsider, and implement a scheme that avoids the World Heritage Site in its entirety, causes no additional damage to the archaeology, and respects the integrity and value of this internationally important prehistoric landscape.
PLEASE respond to the consultation and support our concerns. This outrageously damaging road scheme must be stopped!