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Petition against A303 Stonehenge tunnel going to Government

Petition against A303 Stonehenge tunnel going to Government

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 6:10am 19th February 2020. (Updated at 11:14am 19th February 2020)

3 minute read

Around 60,000 signatures, gathered by the Stonehenge Alliance, are being handed over to the Transport Secretary.

The huge petition is calling the A303 upgrade plans to be scrapped, because of the impact it could have on the surrounding landscape.

The Stonehenge Alliance says 'deep cuttings, tunnel portals and massive highway interchanges' would significantly harm the World Heritage Site.

They've released a video explaining their concerns: 

WHO'S SIGNED THE PETITION? 

It was set up across two petition websites around five years, when the latest plans for the A303 tunnel past Stonehenge were published.

One of those petitions has attracted over 46,000 signatures just from people in the UK, while another, which is available around the world has had 16,000 people signing it. 

Signatures have been gathered from people in more than 100 countries world wide.

Tom Holland, President of the Stonehenge Alliance, says:

"For 4,500 years Stonehenge has stood amid a landscape that was itself sacred for millennia prior to the building of its most celebrated monument. The issue that faces us now as a country is whether the site exists solely to provide a tourist experience, or whether it is the expression of something more significant, both historically and spiritually. That the Government can seriously contemplate injecting enormous quantities of concrete into this unique site, and disfiguring it with multiple lanes of tarmac, seems to me an abomination."

Stonehenge A303 before (Highways England)
The A303 currently runs through the centre of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, but the Alliance is calling for no further damage to the landscape

WHY NOW? 

The whole petition is now being hand-delivered to Downing Street, ahead of a final decision on the whole tunnel and A303 project.

That's due from the Secretary of State for Transport in early April.

A six month Planning Inspectorate enquiry last year looked at more than 1,400 documents and 2,500 representations from those who wanted to have their say.

WHO ARE THE STONEHENGE ALLIANCE?

It's a group that brings together organisations like the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Friends of the Earth and the British Archaeological Trust amongst others.

They've had the backing of some celebrities too, including Time Team presenter Sir Tony Robinson:

"The impact of building huge new roads into the Stonehenge Neolithic and Bronze Age landscape would be dire. It's a complete farce to expect to solve congestion and preserve the site by building a huge new Expressway there." 

Campaigners also made their feelings known at the 2019 Winter Solstice:

HIGHWAYS ENGLAND RESPONSE

The team behind the project has given Spire FM a statement ahead of the petition being handed to Government.

Derek Parody, Project Director for the A303 Stonehenge scheme, said:

“We’re confident that the proposed scheme presents the best solution for improving this vital route from the South East to the South West.  

“Throughout the development of the project, we have been working closely with the country’s heritage bodies and a Scientific Committee of eminent archaeological experts to ensure that the scheme will conserve and enhance the World Heritage Site, and we will continue to do so.”

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