Grant Shapps is reviewing the A303 Stonehenge road widening scheme
The Secretary of State for Transport wants to make a new decision on the Stonehenge road scheme. He asked National Highways for responses to five matters he wishes to consider:
- Environmental Information, and
- Any Other Matters.
National Highways has responded. (See “Documents” tab in this link) and the Secretary of State for Transport has now invited comments on these submissions and any other relevant information. It’s not straightforward to pick these out. National Highways have offered to send their documents electronically on a USB free of charge on request here.
The 50 documents by National Highways, however, are technical, lengthy and cross referenced. The Stonehenge Alliance and its expert advisers are preparing a full technical response which we will share in due course. Nevertheless, it is most important that the Secretary of State for Transport hears from the wider public on these issues. We’re therefore asking as many people to respond as possible, raising some or all of the points below.
Comments must be submitted to A303Stonehenge@planninginspectorate.gov.uk by 23.59, 4 April 2022.
If you can, please make the points in your own words and add any other points you might wish to make.
National Highways has not:
- made any changes to the Scheme to take the 2021 World Heritage Committee Decision into account;
- acknowledged that the Secretary of State found the Scheme’s impact on the proposed western cutting area would be “significantly adverse”;
- fully assessed alternative routes less damaging to the World Heritage Site e.g., a southern bypass route would be cheaper even if there might be some problems with it, while a longer tunnel would reduce impact on the World Heritage Site;
- explored alternatives to hard engineering solutions in the context of safeguarding and enhancing the World Heritage Site – e.g. a package of measures to reduce road traffic, road emissions and improve access to the South West;
- updated the scheme construction costs; nor
- updated the carbon assessment and costs.
Other changes since the Examination closed:
- concern for climate change has increased with the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and the need to take urgent action to reduce emissions, not increase them as any new Stonehenge road scheme would; and
- the Environment Act 2021 sets new ambitions around nature recovery.
Please ask for a re-examination of Development Consent Order
In our opinion the omission on current cost estimates, UNESCO’s position and new information since the Examination closed in October 2019 are compelling grounds for a re-examination by an independent panel BEFORE the Secretary of State redetermines an application for a DCO for the very same road scheme.
THANK YOU for your help and continued support.
For map, images and visuals of the road scheme please link here.Please share