A303 Project: Amesbury to Berwick Down by Stonehenge
National Highways, formerly Highways England until 2021, is the proposer and applicant for the scheme under instruction and funding from its sole client, Department for Transport.
Following the quashing of the scheme by the High Court in July 2021, the Transport Secretary initiated a redetermination decision making process for the same road widening scheme. The Applicant continues to maintain that the current scheme is ‘the best solution’. National Highways’ responses to requests for information by the Transport Secretary are published on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.
(3/3) Developed after a long & extensive collaboration with heritage groups & other key stakeholders, we believe our project is the best solution to the ongoing issues along the A303 past Stonehenge
— A303 Stonehenge (@A303Stonehenge) August 12, 2021
2017 and 2018 consultations
The only option consulted on in 2017 and 2018 proposed for A303 ‘improvements’ by Stonehenge is a dualled carriageway and c. 2.9 km tunnel and cuttings within the World Heritage Site. This is one of eight schemes along the A303, A358 and A30 corridor to form an Expressway to the South West from the South East of England.
Wiltshire Council is the Local Highways Authority and assisted with the consultations and involvement.
National Infrastructure Planning
The A303 Project is a major infrastructure project, aka National Strategic Infrastructure Project (NSIP). The developer (in this case Government via its agent, National Highways) must submit an application to the Planning Inspectorate following an extensive consultation. The pre-application stage is the most important stage to influence the application. Thereafter, influencing plans through the planning process is possible but more difficult. The 6 stages of the development consent regime is described here and in the video below.
Community Involvement in A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down
Links to latest A303 Stonehenge scheme with our comments here
Useful references to National Highways reports can be found in in our library here
Stakeholder briefing, Amesbury
Two Traffic & Access Group consultation events organised by Arup Atkins Joint Venture were held in Amesbury on 18 and 19 October 2016 attended by the following representatives:British Horse Society; British Motorcycle Federation; Campaign for Better Transport; Campaign to Protect Rural England; Friends of the Earth; Green Lane Association; Salisbury Reds; Trail Riders Fellowship, Wiltshire; Transport Focus; Wiltshire Bridleways Association; Wiltshire Fire and Rescue; Wiltshire Police. Stonehenge Alliance was not invited but some of the above are members of the Alliance.
The slides in the presentation below include an interesting analysis of traffic patterns by hour, by day, by month, by direction as well as maps showing past options and monuments in and around the World Heritage Site.
We noted that the Client Scheme Requirements place ‘Cultural Heritage’ at the top of the list of four priorities. The other three were Environment and community, Economic growth and Transport.
No proposal was available for the group’s discussion nor was a consultation programme available.
February 2016 – Creating an Expressway to the South West
Presentation given by Highways England in February 2016 at a public information event in Amesbury containing the latest information on the three schemes being planned for the A303 / A358.
Highways England published its South West Peninsula Route Strategy which includes the A303 in March 2015. The route strategy outlines the priority for investment in the road network over the next 5 years and includes the outputs of the A303, A30 and A358 corridor feasibility study.
National Highways (formerly Highways England)
National Highways manages and builds England’s motorways and major A roads (Trunk roads). Formerly the Highways Agency, Highways England is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Transport.
All other roads in Wiltshire are managed by the local Highways Authority, Wiltshire Council, including those linking to the A303.