New film illustrates benefits of Stonehenge road tunnel for World Heritage Site, people and wildlife

screen grab 2A year ago today (1 December 2014) the Government announced that it would be investing in a fully bored tunnel of at least 2.9km to remove a large part of the existing A303 from the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. To mark the first anniversary of this announcement, Historic England, the National Trust and English Heritage have produced a short film illustrating the difference that the removal of the A303 and the construction of a tunnel of at least 2.9km long could make to the Stonehenge landscape, its wildlife and nature and to those who wish to enjoy, explore, and understand the World Heritage Site.

The Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS), much of which is cared for by the National Trust and English Heritage, is a 2,600 hectare site comprising one of the world’s richest concentrations of early prehistoric monuments. In recent years there have been a number of improvements undertaken to protect and enhance the Stonehenge Landscape site including an extensive program to turn ploughed fields into pasture; the removal of the old visitor centre; and the partial closure and grassing over of the A344.

The National Trust, Historic England, and English Heritage support the Government’s proposal to invest in a fully bored tunnel of at least 2.9km believing it could bring environmental, cultural and economic benefits. It would remove the visual impact and noise of the A303 over a large area of the WHS and restore the landscape, reuniting Stonehenge and its surrounding monuments in their natural chalk downland setting.  The setting of Stonehenge within the WHS would be transformed and access to the Stones and large parts of the WHS would be a more rewarding experience.

Ian Wilson, Assistant Director of Operations for the National Trust in Dorset and Wiltshire says:
‘We really hope the film brings to life the very real benefits that a tunnel could bring to the Stonehenge Landscape, for people and for wildlife.

‘A full scheme has yet to be designed, but the Trust supports the Government’s proposals in principle and we are committed to engaging with Highways England and others to ensure that any scheme will be fully and carefully considered and assessed.’

Phil McMahon, Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Historic England in the South West says:
‘We believe a bored tunnel, well-designed and in the right place, has the potential to bring substantial benefits. It will enhance the whole experience of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and reconnect people with the wider landscape.’

Kate Davies, English Heritage’s General Manager, Stonehenge, says:
‘We have seen vast improvements to the Stonehenge landscape in recent years including the removal of the old visitor facilities and one of the roads next to the stones. But there is still more to be done. Removing the A303 from the prehistoric landscape has the potential to greatly improve people’s enjoyment and understanding of Stonehenge.’

To see the film and find out more about why Historic England, the National Trust and English Heritage support the Government’s proposal visit:
www.historicengland.org.uk/Stonehenge
www.nationaltrust.org.uk/A303Stonehenge
www.english-heritage.org.uk/Stonehenge-A303

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