Stonehenge Alliance representatives met yesterday with UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s advisory mission to Stonehenge . We had barely 20 minutes to outline our thoughts and explain our many concerns about Stonehenge and the A303, which included:
- When the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS) was designated in 1986, it was agreed with the UK Government that the A344 would be closed. We pointed out that the A303 through the WHS in its present form did not compromise the outstanding universal value of the Site. If damaging new A303 engineering works were proposed, however, we fear the Site’s WHS status and the reasons for its inscription might be threatened.
- The proposal for a 2.9km A303 tunnel that would emerge well within the WHS would be at odds with the planning framework that exists to protect the WHS.
- Our Government is committed under the World Heritage Convention to protect the whole of the Stonehenge landscape and transmit it to future generations. Nevertheless it appears to us that the plan for a short tunnel is driven by affordability and economic objectives rather than by the need to conserve the whole world heritage at Stonehenge.
- At peak times traffic at Stonehenge avoids the A303 and uses local roads through nearby villages. The Alliance would like to see measures adopted straight away to discourage rat-running. We think the Government should pay for this if the local highways authority cannot afford it.
- Likewise, we think well-established methods of easing traffic flow on the A303 at busy times should be introduced now.
We mentioned our petition  and the very wide support we are receiving from all over the world for our request to the Government not to damage the WHS further by road and tunnel engineering.
A report by the mission is expected, which we hope will be published in due course.
 The UNESCO World Heritage Centre was invited by the UK Government to send an advisory mission on A303 road proposals for Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS), an area of some 27sq.km. Their intention is to look at the WHS on the ground and hear the concerns of a wide range of stakeholders. The mission’s representatives included an archaeologist and a geotechnical engineer, for the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), and a project officer from UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre Europe and North America Unit.
 The Stonehenge Alliance petition calls on the UK Secretaries of State for Transport and for Culture, Media and Sport, to protect the Stonehenge landscape and, if a tunnel is insisted upon, ensure it should do no further damage to the World Heritage Site. Link to petition is here.