UNESCO's World Heritage Committee has asked the UK Government to rethink its road and tunnel proposals so as to avoid the Stonehenge World Heritage Site altogether. It also asks that organisations such as Stonehenge Alliance, specialist Stonehenge Archaeologists and others are properly involved. Read more http://stonehengealliance.org.uk/reprieve-for-stonehenge-whs/
The Report to the WH Committee which it adopted on 6 July can be found here http://whc.unesco.org/en/documents/158727/
To: The Secretaries of State for Transport, and Culture, Media and Sport to the UK Government
Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site
No further damage should be done to the archaeological landscape of Stonehenge.
Future generations would be appalled at those who decided that road widening should be at the expense of England’s most iconic World Heritage Site.
If A303 widening at Stonehenge is felt to be essential it should be done by means of a deep bored tunnel at least 4.5km long. Anything shorter would cause irreparable damage to this landscape, in breach of the World Heritage Convention.
Why is this important?
The Government proposes to widen the A303 trunk road to the south west. This road crosses the iconic Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS), which has been called “the most archaeologically significant land surface in Europe”. The whole site, extending to beyond the horizons around the famous stones themselves, is c. 5.4 km across. All of it makes up a “huge ancient complex” that holds many secrets yet to be discovered.
The proposal is to put the road into a tunnel where it passes the stones, but the tunnel would be at most only 2.9 km long. This would result in at least 1.6 km of above-ground 21st-century road engineering within the WHS, consisting of new dual carriageway descending in massive trenches to the tunnel portals and possibly a new underpass with slip roads on the western WHS boundary.
All archaeology in the construction zones would be destroyed and the A303 would become the largest ever human intervention in an area fashioned and revered by over a hundred generations of our ancestors.
The whole Stonehenge landscape has an outstanding universal value that is of immense significance for all people for all time, and this transcends any consideration of sorting out a 21st century part-time traffic jam.
Prompted by your signatures and campaign letters, UNESCO publicly stated that it is monitoring the road scheme very closely. http://stonehengealliance.org.uk/information/unesco-world-heritage-sites/.
International visitors who want to support the campaign, please visit the campaign website here: http://stonehengealliance.org.uk/our-campaign/petition/
The photograph of Stonehenge in its landscape setting is courtesy of Jon Westra