Last minute amendments to the Draft Decision for UNESCO's World Heritage Committee about the Stonehenge A303 scheme by Spain weakened the decision that had been based on UNESCO's third Advisory Mission’s positive findings. A statement swiftly put together by the Stonehenge Alliance was read out to the World Heritage Committee by our NGO counterparts. Fortunately the ensuing discussion reversed most of the amendments and the UK Government were urged to continue to explore options that would not require dual carriageway cuttings within the property.
Our news report can be found here: http://stonehengealliance.org.uk/stonehenge-unesco-and-the-spanish-amendments/
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