The Stonehenge Alliance’s position is that there should be no further damage to the World Heritage Site (WHS) through road building or any other development that would impact adversely on its fabric, archaeology, or setting.
Stonehenge’s archaeological landscape is considered worldwide to be ‘without parallel’. For this reason and because the Government has already announced its proposal to finance a 2.9km bored tunnel at Stonehenge, the Alliance has argued that any tunnel solution must be longer – one that is long enough to do no further damage to the WHS.
In fact, only an option that would protect the WHS and its setting would meet the unequivocal demands of the World Heritage Convention and UK planning policy. This implies that if a tunnel is to be constructed, one some 6–7km long would be needed. Revelations concerning the Mesolithic site of Blick Mead, close to the eastern boundary of the WHS, certainly strengthen the case for such a tunnel.
Recent media attention has been drawn to a proposal for a major detour for the A303 to relieve the WHS of some road traffic and provide a southern bypass for Salisbury at the same time. This is not the first time a Salisbury bypass has been proposed and it is likely to be highly controversial. Other A303 diversions were brought to the A303 Inquiry in 2004, including the so-called ‘Parker Plan’ which bypassed Salisbury to the north and was rejected by the Inspector and the Highways Agency at the time.
In view of the Government’s assurance that it will honour Article 4 of the World Heritage Convention the Alliance believes Highways England should only bring forward options for upgrading the A303 that would safeguard the WHS. We await details of option proposals and will consider them carefully.
We are mindful of widely accepted studies that relief of congestion or stimulation of the economy are insufficient justification in themselves for increasing road capacity. The driving force for any activity within the WHS should be heritage, not easing congestion or encouraging economic activity. Our position on this is set out here.
Please continue to support our petition against further damage to our World Heritage.
 Highways England has awarded engineering firms Arup and Atkins a joint design contract to develop a preferred option for widening the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down (see link to news item). One of the options to be considered will be the proposal announced in Parliament on 1 December 2014, involving damaging construction of short, twin-bored tunnels past Stonehenge, some 1.6km of new dual carriageway within the WHS, grade-separated junctions at the A345 and A360 on each side of the World Heritage Site, and a bypass for Winterbourne Stoke.
 Consultation on route options is expected in advance of a final decision on a preferred scheme. See Highways England scheme update here.