The Stonehenge Alliance is campaigning to stop the Government’s damaging proposal to widen the A303 trunk road where it crosses the iconic Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS). The world heritage at Stonehenge transcends any consideration of sorting out a 21st century part-time traffic jam.
The panel of Independent Examiners thought the current proposal was the wrong solution. It would introduce “a greater physical change to the Stonehenge landscape than has occurred in its 6,000 years as a place of widely acknowledged human significance.”
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE A303 STONEHENGE ROAD SCHEME?
Where the A303 crosses the WHS is about 5.4 km across, whereas the Government proposes a short 3.3km tunnel past the stone monument only. Click on the map.
There’s a traffic problem across the World Heritage Site (WHS), especially at week ends and holiday time. But the Government’s road widening scheme is the wrong solution and belongs to a previous century. If the road scheme were to go ahead it would spectacularly fail the integrity of the WHS. SLIDES, MAPS, IMAGES & PLANS
⇓ Below are 9 other sound reasons for scrapping the road scheme ⇓
1. LOSS OF WORLD HERITAGE
Stonehenge, together with Avebury and their surrounding landscapes, were designated a World Heritage Site in 1986 because of their unique Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments and sites dating back some 6,000 years. The famous Stonehenge monument stands at the heart of, and inseparable from, an expanse of chalkland remarkable for its evidence of our distant ancestors: their homes and living spaces, farming, working and ceremonial practices. It is described by UNESCO as a “landscape without parallel”.
If the road scheme were to go ahead UNESCO said the site could be inscribed on its List of World Heritage in Danger. READ MORE >
Stonehenge is more than a stone monument. The whole Stonehenge landscape makes up a huge ancient complex that holds many secrets yet to be discovered. Far from ‘conserving and enhancing’ the WHS, as has been regularly claimed by the scheme promoters, the infrastructure would leave a far larger blot on the landscape than exists at present.
The Planning Inspectors recommended against the proposal saying that the scheme would introduce “a greater physical change to the Stonehenge landscape than has occurred in its 6,000 years as a place of widely acknowledged human significance.” READ MORE >
Stonehenge is not just a landscape with a unique stone circle but a landscape packed with “not just hundreds but thousands, in fact millions of archaeological artefacts and other remains.” Only a limited amount will be recovered and recorded. And there is so much more to be discovered. The damage to the archaeological landscape caused by the road scheme would be permanent and irreversible. READ MORE >
National Highways identified 8 areas for improvement along the A303/A358 road corridor to tackle notorious traffic hotspots. To realise the Stonehenge scheme’s strategic benefits all 8 schemes must be completed. Only 3 schemes have been funded, and one of these has been withdrawn. The Stonehenge section will simply move you to the next traffic jam a few minutes faster. READ MORE >
The economic case has been much exaggerated. When the economic case was first presented to the Examiners it was deemed ‘low’ after the (nearly £1bn) heritage valuation was added. The ‘low’ value will have been reduced, or indeed disappeared, now that the heritage has been severely criticised by the Examiners and UNESCO. Oddly, National Highways’ latest calculations show an increase in value. which does not strike us as credible. At today’s prices the £2.5bn scheme no longer adds up, if it ever did. READ MORE >
National Highways admit the scheme would increase carbon emissions by 2.5 million tonnes over its lifetime just when we need to rapidly reduce emissions. Carbon values are increasing and would affect the scheme’s precarious business case. These concerns were dismissed by National Highways. READ MORE >
Failure to consider alternatives was a key factor in the quashing of the A303 Stonehenge scheme in 2021. Yet there has been no attempt to produce alternatives even though the Secretary of State found the heritage impact to be “significantly adverse”. A package of alternatives is needed urgently. READ MORE >
The scheme would result in the loss of an inspiring view of the ancient stones. The view of Stonehenge from the A303, free to the passing public whether on foot, horse, cycle or in a motor vehicle, has been a touchstone for countless generations and is – in part – responsible for Stonehenge’s position as one of the most recognised ancient monuments in the world. READ MORE >
We believe the decision in July 2023 by Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, to approve the same scheme that had been quashed in 2021, to be unlawful. The case last December was unsuccessful, but this is being challenged. All that stands between Stonehenge and the contractors digging a tunnel is the appeal by Save Stonehenge WHS. READ MORE >
Please note: The Stonehenge Alliance has no connection with any other protest groups involved in direct action against A303 Stonehenge.Please share