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Stonehenge Stonehenge Alliance


CPRE Wiltshire is opposed to the proposed 2.9km tunnel for the A303 at Stonehenge.  


On 6 July 2017, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, in a report and decision, formally asked the UK Government to reconsider the A303 Stonehenge scheme. The Committee urged the Government to “explore further options with a view to avoiding impacts on the OUV [outstanding universal value] of the property”, including a southern bypass of the World Heritage Site (WHS) and “longer tunnel options to remove dual carriageways and cuttings from the property.”  

The Government was also asked to submit a report to the World Heritage Centre on the implementation of its advice by 1 February 2018.  It remains to be seen how the UK Government will respond to UNESCO’s advice, bearing in mind that Highways England plans to announce its “preferred route” later this year. 

A more detailed report by UNESCO's Advisory Mission to Stonehenge earlier this year makes it clear that heritage impact assessment for the WHS should comply with the 

“specific obligations of the State Party under the World Heritage Convention. In particular it should be noted that benefits arising from changes to some parts of the property cannot outweigh negative impacts on OUV arising from impacts elsewhere.” 

This is very much in tune with the stance CPRE has consistently taken over the years.

Earlier News

Highways England’s consultation on dualling the A303 from Amesbury to Berwick Down ended on 5 March. A 1.8mile (2.9km) tunnel would go under part of the World Heritage Site (WHS). Beyond the tunnel cuttings and portals would be new 4-lane highway well within the archaeological landscape of the WHS, continuing with options for a northern or southern bypass for Winterbourne Stoke. Apart from damage to archaeology and landscape, there would be serious impacts on wildlife and the water environment.

For more information, please see here.

Both CPRE Wiltshire's and CPRE South West's responses to the consultation can be downloaded from the links at the bottom of this page.

Wiltshire Branch CPRE is a supporter of the Stonehenge Alliance’s campaign to protect this World Heritage Site. See campaign leaflet and map .  See also Highways England's proposals map either by download or in the Image Gallery, both at the bottom of this page.

For information about the Stonehenge Alliance, see here.

Please consider signing the Stonehenge Alliance’s petition here.

The threat to the Stonehenge WHS.

In December 2014 the Government announced a tranche of improvements to the A303 Trunk road with the aim of improving traffic flow and economic development in the South West. Funding has been earmarked to upgrade the road to dual carriageway between Amesbury and Berwick Down, to include a 1.8 mile tunnel near (but not under) the Stonehenge monument. 

The WHS is, however, some 3.4 miles across. The massive engineering works would leave two pairs of twin tunnel portals in deep cuttings, along with new 4-lane highway, well inside an archaeological landscape designated by UNESCO as of outstanding universal value to mankind.  On the eastern and western boundaries of the WHS there would be grade separated junctions. These works would cause irreparable visual and physical damage to the landscape, its archaeology and its setting, in the face of planning policy and the World Heritage Convention.

What CPRE is doing about the situation

CPRE Wiltshire, supported by National CPRE, has joined forces to form the Stonehenge Alliance, a group of NGOs demanding a better outcome for the WHS. We do not argue for a specific solution to the part-time congestion at Stonehenge (mainly at weekends and holiday periods) but that whatever might be considered necessary should do no further damage to the WHS. Thus, any tunnel would need to be long enough to achieve that aim. Meanwhile, we are asking for measures to prevent rat-running though local villages and to change drivers’ habits so that they consider travelling at less busy times.

We are not opposed to a bypass for Winterbourne Stoke but,since it is an integral part of the overall scheme, we do not propose to state a view on this aspect of the scheme at present.

It appears that the scheme, including the Winterbourne Stoke bypass options, would seriously threaten wildlife, including protected species, and the water environment of the River Avon and its tributary, the Till, designated a Special Area of Conservation and also protected by law.

The Stonehenge Campaign has been reported in CPRE Wiltshire’s Newsletters from time to time. 

The Stonehenge Alliance

The Stonehenge Alliance seeks enhancement of the Stonehenge part of the Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites World Heritage Site (WHS) and to protect it from development that would harm it. 

The supporter organisations of the Alliance are: CPRE, Ancient Sacred Landscape Network, Campaign for Better Transport, Friends of the Earth and Rescue: The British Archaeological Trust. The Chairman of the Alliance is George McDonic, MBE, former Chairman and now Vice-President of CPRE Wiltshire Branch.

More information about the Stonehenge Alliance, what it is campaigning for, and the latest blogs can be seen here and on the Stonehenge Alliance Website where there are links to the Alliance’s Facebook page and Twitter. 

The Alliance has set up national and global petitions asking for no further damage to the WHS. 

Alliance President Tom Holland has produced a short film on his views about the tunnel.  Sir Tony Robinson and others speak on another short video produced prior to the end of the recent consultation at Highways England’s London event at Burlington House.

Please see the Alliance’s website for correspondence with Ministers and other authorities. 

A 2014 article in the Ecologist gives an overview of the Stonehenge road issue.



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