Heritage partners respond to report on proposed Stonehenge tunnel

The UNESCO World Heritage Centre, and its heritage advisors ICOMOS International, have published a report on the Government’s developing plans for a major upgrade of the A303 which cuts across the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS).

The early plans, which went to a first round of public consultation earlier this year, include proposals for the construction of a tunnel of at least 2.9km in order to remove much of the damaging A303 from the WHS.

In a joint statement, the National Trust, English Heritage and Historic England said: 

“We’re disappointed that the ICOMOS report largely ignores both the benefits of removing a large stretch of the A303 and the danger of doing nothing at all.

“The A303 cuts through the heart of the Stonehenge world heritage site, splitting it in two and causing damage to this ancient landscape, pollution and delays for thousands caught up in the traffic jams that have blighted the area for decades. With traffic set to increase, maintaining the status quo is not an option for anyone who cares about the heritage and history of this unique site.

“We believe that if well-designed and sited with the utmost care for the surrounding archaeology and chalk grassland landscape, the tunnel proposal presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide a setting worthy of some of the nation’s most important ancient monuments and will bring huge benefits in terms of public access, nature conservation and protecting the nation’s heritage.

“The report rightly points out that further work is needed on the proposals. Our three organisations are champions for this remarkable site and we want to reach the best possible outcome for it. We have challenged aspects of the scheme which we have concerns about and we have called for the proposed routes at the last consultation to be significantly improved. We also recognise there are others in the heritage community who could make a valuable contribution and welcome the recommendation of setting up a scientific committee as soon as possible to bring this expertise together.

 

Start of the public consultation on the Stonehenge/A303 tunnel scheme

Historic England, English Heritage and the National Trust welcome Highways England’s public consultation on initial options to improve the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down, and the inclusion of a tunnel scheme of at least 2.9km to remove much of the A303 road from the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. Continue reading…

UNESCO and ICOMOS recognise benefits of Stonehenge tunnel plans

Historic England, the National Trust and English Heritage welcome the ICOMOS/UNESCO report [1] which recognises the benefits a tunnel of at least 2.9km could bring to the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, if it is designed and delivered well.

The report by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation is the result of an advisory mission to the World Heritage Site in October 2015. The report mirrors the views held jointly by Historic England, the National Trust and English Heritage, in acknowledging that a fully-bored tunnel of at least 2.9km could help to significantly improve the World Heritage Site and that the design and location of all aspects of the road improvement scheme need to be carefully and fully considered [2].

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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.
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UNESCO and ICOMOS visit Stonehenge World Heritage Site – Government invites international heritage organisations to view A303 tunnel proposal

Visitors walking in the Stonehenge Landscape, Wiltshire. The landscape is studded with ancient monuments.

Visitors walking in the Stonehenge Landscape, Wiltshire. The landscape is studded with ancient monuments.

Following an invitation from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, ICOMOS, advisors to the World Heritage Committee and UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation will visit the Stonehenge World Heritage Site this week (27-30 October) and familiarise themselves with the site and the Government’s proposal for a new road tunnel of at least 2.9km to remove much of the A303 from the Stonehenge landscape. Continue reading…