A Stonehenge Alliance delegation caught an early Eurostar to Paris to make UNESCO aware of the global opposition to the Government’s damaging road building plans through the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.
Alliance Chairman, John Adams and Chris Todd, Director of Transport Action Network and committee member, met senior members of staff from UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre to present a copy of our international petition with its 225,000 signatures from 147 countries.
John and Chris were cordially welcomed by the Centre’s Deputy Director, Jyoti Hosagrahar, who was joined by the Head of Europe and North America Unit, Berta de Sancristobal together with Stefanie Grüssinger, a professional officer for the Unit. They impressed on the Centre that the only thing standing between the World Heritage Site and the bulldozers was the legal challenge. The Alliance welcomed UNESCO’s continuing firm line to protect Stonehenge WHS, but explained that the UK Government had no intention of considering less damaging alternatives despite the strong advice from the World Heritage Committee, who have threatened the World Heritage status of the site if the scheme were to go ahead in its present form.
“We urge UNESCO to remain strong in the face of the UK Government’s indifference to this iconic British heritage site.”
Only three UNESCO properties have ever had their world heritage status deleted:
- Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany (delisted in2009);
- Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman (delisted in 2007);
- Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City (delisted in 2021).
It would be an international embarrassment and dishonour if the UK were to lose a second WHS badge under this government.
We agreed to keep the Centre informed of any developments. We await the outcome of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Riyadh later this month, where we hope to be allowed to make a statement.
The legal challenge
The legal challenge has been submitted by Save Stonehenge WHS Ltd, but they are not expecting to hear anything from the courts for a month. As soon as we have further news, we will let you know.
The good news is that over £50,000 has been raised thanks to your brilliant support. Thank you for helping us reach that initial target!
The appeal, however, is reaching its next stage and needs to raise the full £80,000 in order to bring the action. Please can you continue to help spread the word? Here’s the link to the CrowdJustice appeal.
This story has enjoyed good media coverage:
- BBC News online – ‘Stonehenge tunnel campaigners take petition to UNESCO’
- Heritage Journal – ‘Stonehenge Alliance: New challenge launched’
- New Civil Engineer – ‘Stonehenge campaigners take case against tunnel scheme to Unesco in Paris over World Heritage status delisting concern’
- Planet Radio – ‘Stonehenge tunnel campaigners handing petition to UNESCO’
- Salisbury Journal – ‘Stonehenge: Campaigners present UNESCO with petition opposing tunnel’
- Stonehenge Alliance – Press release 5 September 2023