We welcome the work done by Highways England on the design of the proposed A303 road at Stonehenge. The options they have put forward go a long way towards protecting and enhancing the World Heritage Site (WHS) although there is more work to be done.
Stonehenge A303 Road Improvement Scheme
The Stonehenge Landscape is one of the most important prehistoric landscapes in Europe.
We own, manage and provide access to over 800 hectares (2,100 acres) of the World Heritage Site (WHS) and we take our responsibility to care for it very seriously.
The A303 cuts through the very heart of the WHS, harming the setting of many of the 350 burial mounds and monuments scattered across this landscape and preventing access to the southern two-thirds of the site.
The benefits of a tunnel
We welcome the Government’s plans to invest in a fully bored tunnel of at least 2.9km (1.8miles) to remove a large part of the existing A303 from the Stonehenge Landscape.
We believe and have always said that, if well-designed and delivered with the utmost care for the surrounding archaeology and chalk grassland landscape, it can provide an overall benefit to the WHS.
The design put forward in the latest consultation, includes a 3.2km (2 mile) tunnel incorporating a 200m grass-covered canopy at the western end and vertical-sided cuttings, which would hide the road and help to protect important elements of the WHS. However, we are concerned about the proposal to link byways 11 and 12 for use by motorised vehicles and believe there is still work to do to mitigate the impact of the road at the far western end of the WHS.
With the right design, this scheme has the potential to reunite the landscape and provide improvements to the whole World Heritage Site, improving tranquillity, allowing better access for people to explore and understand the many monuments in the landscape and leaving a lasting legacy. It could also benefit the wildlife in this special landscape and improve access to areas currently difficult to reach due to the existing road.
Working with our partners
We are working closely with Historic England and English Heritage Trust to help inform and challenge Highways England to deliver a final design that protects and enhances the World Heritage Site.
We will continue to work with Government and other key parties, including UNESCO and ICOMOS to find a solution that both protects and enhances the World Heritage Site and finally addresses the major adverse impacts the existing A303 has on this extraordinary place.
08 Feb 18
Our initial response to the statutory consultation.
12 Sep 17
Our response to the preferred route announcement
Together with Historic England and English Heritage, we welcome the announcement of the preferred route. We believe, if designed and located with the utmost care, it can deliver a lasting legacy for the World Heritage Site.
07 Mar 17
Full response to Highways England consultation
Our response to the public consultation on Highways England's plans for the Amesbury to Berwick Down section of the A303 - including the Stonehenge Tunnel.