The Examination of the Development Consent Order application closed on 3 October 2019.
Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects are not subject to a Public Inquiry but an Examination of a Development Consent Order application. The DCO process is explained here.
The A to Z of the process since 2018 as well as the written representations by Stonehenge Alliance and relevant submissions can be viewed here.
Our summary of case is based on 11 issues of concern. The summary was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 25 September 2019.
The 11 issues of concern are:
- Flawed consultation
- Lack of proper consideration given to alternatives
- Inadequacy of consideration given to the impact of the scheme on the world heritage and the historic environment
- Traffic, Transportation and Value for Money
- The cultural heritage value report
- Landscape and visual impact
- Flood risk, groundwater protection, geology and land contamination
- Biodiversity, biological environment and ecology
- Vibration effects
- Carbon impact
The Stonehenge Alliance believes it has shown key elements of the A303 Scheme not to have been fully or properly presented from the start. Choice of the route was limited to a short tunnel through the WHS when other, less damaging options should have been included. The project appears to conflict with a number of UK policies and Regulations as well as European Conventions and Directives.
Considerable gaps remain in information on numerous crucial issues, such as geology and hydrogeology, ecology, and the heritage impact of the Scheme on the WHS and its setting.
Uncertainty remains about the practicality of tunnelling through the unique Chalk geology and the impacts it could have on private water supplies, the River Avon (protected by law as a Special Area of Conservation), disturbance of and damage to archaeological remains from the effects of vibration and settlement, and so on. There are concerns about protected bird species and the adequacy of measures to ensure they would not be disturbed during Scheme construction and operation.
The case for the scheme on road transport and economic grounds is weak and there are serious problems with Highways England’s Cultural Heritage Valuation study. The Scheme is agreed to be low value for money and, with inevitable unforeseen costs ought not to be considered economically viable.
- News release: 2 October 2019
- Blog post: “Fate of Stonehenge World Heritage Site in the balance” – 6 October 2019
- Overview: MPs’ briefing here.