The Stonehenge Alliance is a group of non-governmental organisations and individuals that seeks enhancements to the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS) and opposes development, that will cause it significant harm. The Alliance is concentrating its efforts on opposing the proposal for dualling the A303 including a short tunnel across Stonehenge WHS announced in December 2014, which would cause serious damage each side of the WHS landscape. Our petitions (separate for UK and non UK residents) have continuously attracted supporters.
Last summer we engaged on the world stage through our membership of World Heritage Watch Forum in Kraków where we presented our campaign. We were accepted as observers at the World Heritage Committee meeting which UNESCO decided to recommend that the UK re-thinks the A303 scheme. The scheme proposers have ignored UNESCO’s advice. Attempts are strenuously made by the scheme proposers to ignore UNESCO’s objections. We raise awareness of the likelihood of losing our World Heritage Site status and its wider impact should UNESCO’s advice continue to be ignored.
- lobbied government at all relevant levels and departments
- held challenging dialogue with Highways England, the promoters of the road scheme
- collaborated with over 90 members of the National Trust who object to the scheme
- engaged with campaign supporters from around the world. Our supporters come from over 40 countries, represent all walks of life and backgrounds, hold a variety of beliefs or none and yet are united by the spirit of place.
Together our supporters and Alliance partners express the truth about the World Heritage Site’s Outstanding Universal Value.
We believe that these actions are effective and have caused government to be concerned about our wide reach.
The Stonehenge Alliance was originally constituted in 2001 to oppose the Highways Agency’s previous scheme for widening the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down which included a short, 2.1km bored tunnel close to the Stones and 2.4km of above-ground dual carriageway within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS). That scheme, examined at a Public Inquiry in 2004, was abandoned by the Government in 2007 owing to cost and unforeseen technical problems relating to tunnelling close to the surface through ‘soft chalk’, a concern that our hydrogeologist drew to the Public Inquiry’s attention.
Since then, the Alliance has concentrated its efforts on helping to achieve closure of the A344/A303 road junction (finally undertaken in 2013) and arguing for small-scale improvements to safety and traffic flow on the A303 – which we have not yet seen fully implemented. We also argued for a sustainable new visitor centre and are disappointed that this facility and its large vehicle parks were not located outside the WHS as we had suggested. In the event, a large tract of hitherto open countryside in the WHS is visually blighted by development, and problems have arisen with the visitor-transit system, requiring the use of replacement buses.
We have objected to various other planning proposals affecting the WHS such as the extension to the tarmac on the visitor-car park and the increased size of the coach park, arguing that it would be more appropriate and satisfactory to use a park and ride system, perhaps located closer to Amesbury, for the benefit of local businesses and to allow a reduction in traffic on the A303 as well as partial restoration of the WHS landscape.
The long-term supporter-organisations of the Alliance are:
- Ancient Sacred Landscape Network (ASLaN)
- Campaign for Better Transport (Formerly Transport 2000)
- Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) with Wiltshire Branch of CPRE
- Friends of the Earth (FOE) with FOE South West
- Rescue: The British Archaeological Trust
The Chairman of the Alliance is George McDonic MBE, BL, DIPLTP, FRTPI, DPA, FFB who took over the position in 2006 from our founder and past president the late Lord Kennet. George McDonic, a planning consultant, is a past president of the RTPI, held the post of Chief Planning Officer when Wiltshire had a County Council, and is former chairman of Wiltshire CPRE.
Our new president is Tom Holland, author, classicist, historian and broadcaster. He is the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Making History and served two years as the Chair of the Society of Authors. Tom was on the committee of the Classical Association. His book Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic, won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Persian Fire, his history of the Graeco-Persian wars, won the Anglo-Hellenic League’s Runciman Award in 2006.