The Stonehenge Alliance is a group of non-governmental organisations and individuals that seeks enhancements to the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS) and opposes development that would cause it significant harm.
The Alliance is a not for profit organisation that relies entirely on donations from campaign supporters and the voluntary efforts of activists.
Through its Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site campaign, the Alliance is concentrating its efforts on opposing the proposal for dualling the A303 including a short tunnel across Stonehenge WHS announced in December 2014, which would result in serious damage to the WHS landscape. This action includes our petitions to the Secretaries of State for Transport and Culture which continue to attract supporters from the UK and around the world.
The Stonehenge Alliance supported the Save Stonehenge WHS Ltd legal challenge to the road scheme and will continue to do so if necessary.
We raise awareness of the likelihood of Stonehenge’s loss of World Heritage Site status and its wider impact should UNESCO’s advice continue to be ignored.
- lobbied government at all levels and all relevant departments,
- held challenging dialogue with Highways England, the promoters of the road scheme,
- collaborated with over 90 members of the National Trust who object to the scheme,
- engaged with campaign supporters from over 100 countries, supporters represent all walks of life and are from a wide variety of backgrounds, hold a variety of beliefs or none and yet are united by the spirit of the World Heritage Site, and have
- supported and helped to raise funds for Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site Ltd’s successful legal challenge to the Transport Secretary’s decision to grant a Development Consent Order for the road scheme in November 2020.
- Through our membership of World Heritage Watch, in 2017 and 2019 we presented our campaign to UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre. and have kept the WHW network updated annually through their forum.
Together, our supporters and Alliance partners express the truth about the World Heritage Site’s Outstanding Universal Value.
We believe that these actions are effective and have caused government to be concerned about our wide reach.
The long-term supporter-organisations of the Alliance are:
- Ancient Sacred Landscape Network (ASLaN)
- Campaign for Better Transport (Formerly Transport 2000) whose road campaigning was succeeded by the newly created:
- Transport Action Network
- Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Wiltshire Branch of CPRE
- Friends of the Earth (FOE) with FOE South West
- Rescue: The British Archaeological Trust
- Transport Action Network
- Other members of the committee are also part of the A350/A36 Corridor Alliance, a Wiltshire based campaign group.
We are fortunate and most grateful to John Adams OBE, a director of Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site Ltd, for agreeing to step into the role of Acting Chair of the Stonehenge Alliance in 2021 and eventually Chairman. John describes himself as a “serial trustee” and has had a highly regarded career in the voluntary and community sector in Wiltshire and nationally. More about John’s public service here. Follow his personal tweets: @JohnAdamsEbble
Our honorary Secretary was the late and much missed Dr Kate Fielden who represented CPRE and Rescue: The British Archaeological Trust. Her administrative duties have been shared amongst members of the committee. Her passionate and knowledgeable leadership is irreplaceable.
We are sorry to announce that our fellow-campaigner and distinguished chairman George McDonic MBE, BL, DIPLTP, FRTPI, DPA, FFB died on 14 February 2021. He took over the position in 2006 from our founder and past president the late Lord Kennet. George McDonic, was a respected planning consultant, a barrister, a past president of the RTPI, held the post of Wiltshire’s Chief Planning Officer prior to its unitary status, and was former chairman of the Wiltshire branch of CPRE.
Our president Tom Holland, is author, classicist, historian, broadcaster and co-host of the podcast ‘The Rest is History‘. Tom has produced short videos for our campaign and continuously helps to raise our campaign profile in social media.
Tom is author of Dominion, the Making of the Western Mind which has won high praise; Rubicon: The Triumph and the Tragedy of the Roman Republic, won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize; Persian Fire, his history of the Graeco-Persian wars, won the Anglo-Hellenic League’s Runciman Award in 2006. Tom has been a staunch opponent of the proposed Stonehenge road tunnel since hearing about the scheme on our newly launched twitter page in November 2014. He said of the Stonehenge tunnel:
“The issue is whether Stonehenge exists to provide a tourist experience, or whether it is something more significant, both historically and spiritually. It has stood there for 4,500 years. And up to now, no one’s thought of injecting enormous quantities of concrete into the landscape and permanently disfiguring it.” 2017, Wikipedia
Follow Tom Holland on @holland_tom
Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site Ltd (SSWHS)
SSWHS was set up as a separate entity in 2020 to fight the legal case against the Transport Secretary’s decision to approve the scheme. It commissions and manages the legal team, it raises funds and publishes updates on its CrowdJustice page. Following the second approval, SSWHS has continued this function for the purposes of the legal challenge in 2023/24. The three directors are our Chairman, and the representatives for Transport Action Network and Friends of the Earth. They undertake their directorship roles in a personal capacity.
SSWHS is supported by the Stonehenge Alliance via its various communication channels.
The Stonehenge Alliance was originally constituted in 2001 to oppose the Highways Agency’s previous scheme for widening the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down which included a short, 2.1km bored tunnel close to the Stones and 3.3km of above-ground dual carriageway within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS). That scheme, examined at a Public Inquiry in 2004, was abandoned by the Government in 2007 owing to cost and unforeseen technical problems relating to tunnelling close to the surface through ‘soft chalk’, a concern that our hydrogeologist drew to the Public Inquiry’s attention.
Since then, the Alliance has concentrated its efforts on helping to achieve closure of the A344/A303 road junction (finally undertaken in 2013) and arguing for small-scale improvements to safety and traffic flow on the A303 – which we have not yet seen fully implemented. We also argued for a sustainable new visitor centre and are disappointed that this facility and its large vehicle parks were not located outside the WHS as we had suggested. In the event, a large tract of hitherto open countryside in the WHS is visually blighted by development, and problems have arisen with the visitor-transit system, requiring the use of replacement buses.
We have objected to various other planning proposals affecting the WHS such as the extension to the tarmac on the visitor-car park and the increased size of the coach park, arguing that it would be more appropriate and satisfactory to use a park and ride system, perhaps located closer to Amesbury, for the benefit of local businesses and to allow a reduction in traffic on the A303 as well as partial restoration of the WHS landscape.
Save Stonehenge! website 1998 – 2007
The predecessor to the Stonehenge Alliance was a loose alliance of objectors to further damage to the World Heritage Site who would gather from time to time. Articles and papers were published on a dedicated Save Stonehenge! website. Although a number of links to statements by statutory bodies no longer work, this is a valuable historical record that includes media articles starting from 1998.
The website was archived by its founder, the UK Rivers Trust, and can be found here.
Timeline of road widening proposals since inscription by UNESCO in 1985 to present time is available here.
Article by our co-founders, Elizabeth Young and Wayland Kennet, former Chairman, and first President of Stonehenge Alliance in the Journal of Architectural Conservation, No 3 November 2000, pp.70-85 has been reproduced by kind permission of the Young family.
Please note: The Stonehenge Alliance has no connection with any other protest groups involved in direct action against A303 Stonehenge.Please share