Stonehenge and the A303 – Consultation response

8th March 2017 – Final response

  • Context on website here with pdfs to NT’s letter outlining their response here
  • Full response here
  • An assessment of the impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site here

7th February 2017 – Interim response

Historic England, English Heritage and the National Trust published their initial joint response to Highways England’s proposal. Supported with the exception of the Western Portal:

“We are presently considering how the western portal proposals might be amended to ensure benefit to this internationally important ancient landscape. We will include constructive comment on this as part of our formal response to the public consultation and will seek Highways England’s commitment to improving this aspect of the scheme”.

December 2014

The National Trust released this joint statement with English Heritage on 2 December, 2014:

Autumn Statement: Stonehenge and the A303

Yesterday (Monday 1 December, 2014) the Government announced in its Autumn Statement that it will be investing in a new 2.9km tunnel to remove the A303 from the Stonehenge landscape.

English Heritage and National Trust as guardians of Stonehenge and its World Heritage Site, see this announcement as a “truly momentous decision” in the modern history of one of the most famous places in the world.

Stonehenge

Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust, said: “The importance of this announcement today cannot be overstated. After many false starts and challenges, this does for the first time feel like a real opportunity to tackle the blight of the road that dominates the landscape of Stonehenge.

“If designed well, putting the A303 into a tunnel of 2.9km will bring the Stonehenge landscape together once more, creating space for nature and improving the site’s tranquillity. I know there will be some sadness that people will no longer be able to see the stones from the road, but visitors will once again be able to hear the sounds of skylarks singing rather than the constant noise of traffic.

“We’re committed to finding alternative ways for even more people to see the Stones on their journey and for future generations to experience and explore this inspiring prehistoric landscape as our ancestors did.”

Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said: “This will be the biggest single investment ever by Government in this country’s heritage and is truly a momentous decision.

“We felt so proud to close the A344 last year and build award-winning visitor facilities at Stonehenge. We have been campaigning for a tunnel to remove the blight that is the A303, for the past 30 years. This news is the icing on the cake and vindicates all  our hard work.

“We have been trying to find a solution for the A303 improvements since 1986 when Stonehenge became a World Heritage Site – recognition that it is one of the best known and most important prehistoric landscapes in the world.

“It is vital that any new scheme to put the A303 into a bored tunnel is located in the right place and designed to the best specification.

“This is about investing in the future. We have a responsibility to future generations to get this right as we provide a world class solution for a world class place.”


Questions & answers about the short tunnel at Stonehenge at the National Trust AGM

8 November 2014

Link to video archive of National Trust’s AGM, morning session:

Question 1 by Kate Fielden between 48.00 minutes and 52.15.
Question 2 by Kate Freeman after 1 hour 03 minutes – for 2 minutes.

Transcript of exchanges: NT AGM 8 November 2014 Q & A


National Trust’s past positions on Stonehenge WHS

30 March 2006 

On 17th March 2006, leading independent conservation organisations agreed a common view of the current Highways Agency A303 Stonehenge Improvement Scheme Review consultation. These organisations together represented a large heritage and environmental constituency, and reflected local, national and international views, with a diverse range of professional and public opinions.

Emerging from this meeting was a strong consensus on the issues underlying the A303 consultation, on a vision for the Stonehenge World Heritage site, on strategies for the way forward to achieve this vision, and on the potential for huge public value that an unencumbered World Heritage site could deliver.

All agreed that the following principles should be heeded when assessing the appropriateness or otherwise of possible road and access schemes:

  • The significance of the World Heritage site extends beyond individual scheduled monuments and their immediate settings
  • The Stonehenge World Heritage site is a cultural landscape of interrelated complexes of monuments and buried remains, which together display an unique range of evidence for prehistoric society
  • To safeguard the World Heritage site for future generations, the long-term view must always be considered, even for interim or partial solutions

Signatories – in alphabetical order:

ASLaN – Ancient Sacred Landscape Network
CBA – The Council for British Archaeology
CPRE – The Campaign to Protect Rural England
FoE – Friends of the Earth
ICOMOS-UK – International Council for Monuments & Sites, UK
Prehistoric Society
RESCUE – The British Archaeological Trust
The National Trust
Transport 2000 – Now Campaign for Better Transport
WANHS – Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society (Wiltshire Museum)

Link here to read the joint press statement in full: Stonehenge WHS Joint PR 


3 October 2002 

A public briefing dated 3rd October 2002  calls for a “more sustainable tunnel solution at Stonehenge” and sets out a vision for a long bored tunnel of 4.5km to reduce the risk of permanent and significant negative impacts within the World Heritage Site.  In so doing the statement acknowledges the need to assess the impact on the water environment.

Link here to the Briefing Paper:  National Trust Stonehenge Briefing