What are we trying to save and why?
The Government proposes to widen the A303 trunk road to the south west. The 4-lane carriageway, tunnel, slip roads and trenches would cross the iconic Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS): a landscape that is considered “the most archaeologically significant land surface in Europe without parallel”. The whole Stonehenge landscape has an outstanding universal value that is of immense significance for all people for all time, and this transcends any consideration of sorting out a 21st century part-time traffic jam.
Stonehenge: Much more than a monument
The road and tunnel is being sold on a false premise: that it is enhancing “Stonehenge” and the “World Heritage Site”. The triangular field where the stone monument stands is one part a vast prehistoric landscape. Read more.
The whole site, extending to beyond the horizons around the famous stones themselves, is c. 5.4 km across. All of it makes up a “huge ancient complex” that holds many secrets yet to be discovered. Yet the proposal is for a 2.9km (1.8 mile) tunnel (see map above). It would result in at least 1.6 km of above-ground 21st-century road engineering within the WHS.
All archaeology in the construction zones would be destroyed and the A303 would become the largest ever human intervention in an area fashioned and revered by over a hundred generations of our ancestors. It would cause irreparable damage to the WHS in breach of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and ignores UNESCO’s firm advice in 2018.
Our response to Highways England’s consultations on the A303 Stonehenge in 2017 and 2018 can be read here.
Please sign our petition
We have set up a petition to the Secretaries of State for Transport and Culture. Please can you sign it and share widely?
No further damage should be done to the archaeological landscape of Stonehenge.
Future generations would be appalled at those who decided that road widening should be at the expense of England’s most iconic World Heritage Site.
If A303 widening at Stonehenge is felt to be essential it should be done by means of a deep bored tunnel at least 4.5km long. Anything shorter would cause irreparable damage to this landscape, in breach of the World Heritage Convention.
Our responses to several myths explain our position on road widening by Stonehenge WHS.
Stonehenge Saga: timeline
- 2027 Current completion date for scheme
- 2021 (Planned) – Start on site (may be delayed to 2022)
- 27-28 May Stonehenge and Council for British Archaeology comment to SoS on responses from Highways England, Historic England, and Wiltshire Council
- 21 May media report that completion of work on A303 Stonehenge will be delayed by a year
- 18 May all responses on Infrastructure Planning website
- 16 May SA also responds with comments
- 4 May 2020 SoS for Transport asks for comments and information from Highways England, Historic England and Natural England
- 29 April 2020 – SoS for Transport delays his Decision until 17 July
- 2 April – Expected Decision by SoS for Transport
- 11 March – Chancellor funds Stonehenge scheme
- 2 January 2020 – Examining Authority’s Report and Recommendation sent to Secretary of State for Transport
- 2 October 2019 – Examination ends
- 3 April 2019 – Start of Examination of Scheme
- 2 April 2019 – Examining Authority’s Preliminary Meeting for interested parties
- 14 December 2018 – Final date to register as an Interested Party
- 16 November 2018 – Planning application accepted by Planning Inspectorate. The timescale will be published and people can register to become an “Interested Party” by making a “Relevant Representation”.
- 19 October 2018 – Highways England submit application to Planning Inspectorate. Cost increases to £1.7bn.
- 17 July – 14 August 2018 Supplementary Consultation on minor alterations
- 8 February to 23 April 2018 – Statutory consultation on proposed scheme. Cost increases to £1.6bn.
- September 2017 – Announcement of preferred route
- 12 January to 5 March 2017 – Non-statutory consultation on route option. Cost increases to £1.4bn.
- 2015-2016 – Route assessment and identification
- 2014 – Scheme included in the Roads Investment Strategy. Budget cost £1.2bn.
- 2013 – A303 feasibility study announced as part of the Autumn Statement
- 2007 – Withdrawn from roads programme – Conservation groups joint statement
- 2005 – Review of options after substantial increase in estimated costs
- 2004 – Public inquiry
- 2002 – 2.1km initially cut and cover, then short bored tunnel announced < Stonehenge Alliance formed
- 1999 – Preferred route announced
- 1998 – Scheme re-introduced to roads programme
- 1996 – Scheme withdrawn from roads programme
- 1995 – Planning Conference – Salisbury
- 1994 – 1995 – Further route identification
- 1994 – International conference by English Heritage “Stonehenge: The Great Debate” London – National Trust commit to a long bored tunnel
- 1993 – Public consultation
- 1991 – 1993 – Initial route identification for improvements to A303
- 1986 – Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites World Heritage Site inscribed by UNESCO