“There can be no more iconic symbol of the global heritage of mankind than Stonehenge. We have a duty to safeguard it for future generations.” Dr Kate Fielden, Hon Secretary to the Stonehenge Alliance
We have not one but three days in court
We learned last week that the challenge by Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site Ltd (SSWHS) to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ outrageous decision to go ahead with the A303 Stonehenge scheme will be heard in the High Court from Wednesday, 23 to Friday, 25 June. Thanks to all of you whose generous donations helped SSWHS take on the Government. This is our best chance to stop the Stonehenge tunnel and road scheme. The Department for Transport will defend the challenge, with Highways England and Historic England as interested parties.
SSWHS is contesting the decision on the following grounds:
- Harm to each heritage asset within the project should have been weighed in the balance, instead of considering the “historic environment” as a whole.
- None of the advice provided by Historic England provided the evidential basis for the Secretary of State’s conclusion of “less than substantial harm” to any of the assets impacted by the project.
- He allowed purported “heritage benefits” to be weighed against heritage harm, before deciding whether that overall harm was “substantial” or “less than substantial”, which was unlawful under the National Policy Statement
- He failed to take into account that development consent would breach the World Heritage Convention
- He left out of account mandatory material considerations: the breach of various local policies; the impact of his finding of heritage harm which undermined the business case for the proposal and the existence of at least one alternative
Thanks for your fantastic support
Thanks to your generosity we reached the initial target of £50,000 extraordinarily rapidly. This enabled the legal team to go forward with the preparatory work necessary for the judicial review in time to meet the deadline of 24 December last year. None of us could have got this far without you.
It is no surprise, however, that a landmark, complex case such as this is going to be more expensive than at first anticipated. From the outset we knew that the legal opportunity afforded by the planning process might be an expensive journey.
Legal action is expensive
Although the legal team is already working at a heavily discounted rate the three-day hearing requires considerable extra work, so SSWHS has been asked by CrowdJustice to raise the funding target to £80,000.
With your help SSWHS has successfully negotiated the first hurdle. Now we need to prepare for the next hurdle: the three days in court. We urge our supporters to help SSWHS to continue to fight this appalling scheme.
Stonehenge Alliance is firmly committed to do its utmost to support this fight. We hope you will continue to support the Judicial Review too and donate if you can.
The scheme’s benefits “would not outweigh the harm arising from the excavation of a deep, wide cutting and other engineering works, within the WHS and its setting, of a scale unseen in this unique ‘landscape without parallel’.” Examining Authority for the Planning Inspectorate that advised the Transport Secretary against approval of the scheme.
The Stonehenge Alliance has campaigned against the A303 Stonehenge Expressway for many years and supports the Save Stonehenge WHS legal challenge to the road scheme. Please note: the Stonehenge Alliance has no connection with any other protest groups involved in direct action against A303 Stonehenge. More about us.